The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has begun a nationwide distribution of insecticides to prevent the invasion of the fall armyworm (FAW) from infesting crops, particularly maize.
Speaking with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview in Accra, the Acting Director of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD), under the MOFA, Mr Ebenezer Aboagye said the distribution of the pesticides was focused on regions that had recorded outbreaks.
They are, the Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Ashanti, Greater Accra, Western and Central regions.
Meanwhile, a 16-member taskforce to coordinate the management of the invasion of the fall armyworm (FAW) has been inaugurated by the sector Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto in Accra.
Their mandate is to carry out the action plan for the control of the FAW and which include surveillance, awareness creation, management and control.
Mr Aboagye said the taskforce did not have a defined tenure of office until the outbreak was managed.
“We are not looking at only this year but for the next three years the taskforce will still be in place,” he said.
The National Women’s Leader of the Farmers Organisation Network in Ghana, Madam Lydia Sasu, said in an interview that women farmers in particular were devastated by the situation.
“For farmers especially rural women, is not easy to grow and loose everything. It means the whole year you will go hungry. So we need to find ways to eradicate them so we can continue with the farming because it is disturbing for all of us,” she said.
However, she said they were being educated to spray their farms at night, which they are experimenting in areas around the Afram Plains.
She appealed for more support in order to do more.
From January to May 16, 2017, a total of 1,370 hectares of farmlands has been destroyed nationwide by the FAW, a new pest in Africa that attacks maize but can also feed other crops including millet, sorghum, rice wheat, sugar cane and vegetables.
Last year, about 4,000 hectares were affected.
Native to the Americas, the FAW is said to be notoriously mobile. Experts say that medium and longer term responses and actions are necessary to address the emergency that farmers are facing.