General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
Ghana is most likely to suffer food shortage this year, due to the devastation caused by fall armyworms, leaving 18,219.07 hectares of maize farms destroyed so far.
Cowpea, yam and cocoa farms, have also been destroyed with Ghanaian farmers losing millions of Ghana Cedis of the investment.
Media reports say, nine regions have been affected, and most Ghanaian farmers whose farms have been affected, have abandoned their farms because there is nothing left to be salvaged.
In desperation, the Ministry of Agriculture said only one out of the five pesticides it has imported works at tackling the army worm infestation. Over 120,000 hectors of farms have so far been destroyed by the Fall Armyworms.
So far only 3,000 litters of the insecticide have been imported with majority of them going to the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
Acting national director plant protection and regulatory services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ebenezer Aboagye in an exclusive interview with JoyBusiness, said the ministry was importing 3,000 more of neemazal, the insecticide which has proved efficacious.
This follows the revelation by The Herald that the chemicals that the Agric Ministry is applying to kill the army worms, were not working. The chemicals were procured for GH¢20 million to the taxpayer.
The chemicals were procured under sole-sourcing and the Public Procurement Authority is now being made to rectify the contract which has caused the nation to lose money, due to the inability of the pesticides to kill the worms.
The new chemical, Neemazal is developed from nim tree, though Ghana has several Nim trees, it will be impossible for the country to produce enough to solve the current army worm phenomenon.
At the rate of the spread, the country will need emergency supply from India to curb the situation. So far, the Ministry of Agriculture has provided 3000 litters of Neemazel, an organic pesticide from India invented by German scientists and produced by India since the country has nim trees in abundance.
At the cost of 80-90 Ghana cedis per litter, the product is applied with a measurable quantity of 500 millimetres per every hector on the affected farm for a duration of two to three weeks.
The mode of application is done twice in six weeks to disrupt the behavioural pattern of insect eggs lying, destroying the larvae and also killing the fully grown insect.
Benjamin Mex Yankah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jeloise Limited, outlined the benefits of the farm pest rescue Neemazal, he said, an effective chemical composition of this product which contains 10,000 ppm azadirachtin ensuring reliable efficacy, and prevention of phytotoxicity to crops with the aid of Neemazals oil|-free property leading to quick degradation.
Mr Yankah, further stated that Neemazal as an organic pesticide, defeats these soldiers of the farm due to its organic nature to enable farms to maintain a fertility and to help in quantum yield of farm produce and have an all year round farming, he told JoyBusiness.
He added that, since the company was not in Ghana, they are putting up measures to set up the Neemazol pesticides producing factory in Ghana, but the concentrates will be coming from India since the country does not have enough Nim trees to speed up production.
The pests were detected last year and have rapidly spread, wreaking havoc on crops.
The green-striped caterpillar larvae of moths are very destructive because they eat the reproductive parts of the plant and leaves.