14,000 Metric Tonnes Of Maize Lost To Armyworms
In the past months, bleak headlines of food pest called the Fall Armyworms (FAW) that besieged Ghana’s Agriculture sector with the aim of bringing to nought Ghana’s food basket, hit the newsstands.
According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) 14,000 metric tonnes of maize were lost to the outbreak, last year.
The matter became more depressing after farmers across the country were told the ‘Army’ of worms had come to stay.
This disturbing fact according to the ministry, would have been worse if not for timely interventions.
The sector Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has therefore assured that practical measures are in place to mitigate the harm caused by the pest.
“We have been able to sensitized the farmers and the general public… I didn’t dismantle the task force that we put together, we are still working and working hard to ensure that what happened last year doesn’t happen again,” he assured.
Other mitigating measures according to the minister include the procurement and distribution of biorational pesticides, setting up pheromone traps to monitor population dynamics of FAW and Scouting, collection and identification of indigenous biocontrol agents.
“When there is an outbreak in the community, the farmers are to contact the extension officers who will then give them the necessary support by prescribing pesticides and providing advice on how to go about,” the minister advised.
According to the Plant Protection & Regulatory Services (PPRSD), over 2000 litres and 1700 kg of pesticides have been sent to the Northern region is to cover about 2000 hectares of land.
In Upper East Region, over 2000 litres and over 1000 kg have been distributed to also cater for over 19,000 hectares while 2100 litres and 1135 kg of pesticide has been disbursed to the Upper West for 22,500 Hectares.
“Nearly a quarter of a million acres of maize was affected but because of the drastic efforts that we put in, we were able to save all except 14,000 metric tonnes which was destroyed by the fall armyworm. But this year I can assure you that they won’t even get 1000,” Dr Akoto guaranteed.
Meanwhile, the ministry continues its extensive and regular field monitoring on monthly basis by the national task force assigned to handle the menace.