General News of Sunday, 30 July 2017
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has debunked media reports that it has spent GHS20million on wrong chemicals to fight the Fall Armyworm invasion in the country.
According to the Ministry, the story is “not only misleading but also full of propaganda and a calculated attempt to indignify the image and reputation of the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto.”
A statement signed by Issah Alhassan, Press Secretary to Dr Akoto said: “First of all, we would like to state emphatically that MOFA has not spent GH 20M on wrong chemicals as the story sought to portray.
“The amount earmarked by government to fight the invasion of the armyworms is less than the one being quoted by the Minister. The Finance Ministry released an amount of GH 16million out of which GHS 15,815million was released to the ministry. Part of this amount was to be used for the procurement of approved chemicals, sensitisation and awareness creation, as well as procurement of logistics for the gang spraying team put in place by the National Taskforce and the Committee set up to oversee the fight against the pests.”
MOFA said the chemicals were approved after exhaustive consultations with sister countries, the CSIR, EPA and the PPRSD under the Ministry before orders were made for their purchase.
According to the ministry, reports from across the length and breadth of the country indicate massive progress in the fight against the armyworms and were hopeful that at the end of the day the country will witness bumper harvests in all the major crops including maize, sorghum, soyabean and rice.
The ministry further noted that plans are also far advanced to support farmers whose farms were devastated by the armyworms and in order to prevent future occurrence, MOFA has signed an agreement with the University of Ghana to train personnel of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Division of the ministry.
“This partnership with the academia, we hope, will help bolster the emergency response ability of the ministry in fighting all forms of diseases that affect crops and animals in the country,” the statement said adding that “MOFA will like to assure farmers that the National Surveillance and Monitoring Taskforce made up of personnel from NADMO, CSIR, FAO and PPRSD will continue to be on the ground to response to distress calls of farmers as we deal with pockets of reports of infection.”