In order to fight the plague, armyworm, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has inaugurated a multi-disciplinary task force to help control and manage the incidence of a Fall Army Worm (FAW) infestation in the country.
The members are drawn from Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the private sector, as well as the country’s development partners.
At the inauguration of the task force in Accra last Wednesday, Dr Akoto explained that the infestation was of a global nature that affected the country’s neighbours and also devastated cereals and legume crop fields in both the eastern and southern regions of Africa.
He said the infestation was having serious negative consequences on food security, incomes of farmers and gross domestic products in affected countries.
The minister said apart from the Western Region, the incidence of infestation had been recorded in the rest of the nine regions.
“We have since the beginning of the year mounted surveillance for detection and prevalence of the FAW infestation in all districts in the country, especially as a result of incidences in 2016, coupled with situational reports from our neighbouring countries,” Dr Akoto said.
He said the ministry, through the surveillance, detected incidences of infestation in a number of districts in the Ashanti, Central, Northern, Western and Brong Ahafo regions.
He stated that the ministry had drawn up contingency plans which detailed out a road map on how to control and manage the infestations.
The functions of the task force, the minister said, would be to sensitise and create awareness among farmers of how to detect the FAW, undertake surveillance and monitoring, implement prevention and control measures, research for long-term measures to combat the pest and source for short and long-term strategies to combat the menace.
He said the ministry was also working with development partners in the sector, as well as regional authorities, for a holistic approach in addressing the problem.
Dr Akoto said the government had made funds available for the immediate combat of the disease and to also minimise the level of infestations.
“We wish to assure all that government is prepared to handle this issue. We, therefore, entreat people to report any sighting of the FAW for prompt action,” he added.