General News of Tuesday, 3 October 2017
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Annual Crops, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, has intimated that although government has conquered the invasion of the fall armyworm, there is the need to devise strategies to prevent a recurrence.
Speaking to the press, Dr. Sagre said efforts have been made to engage stakeholders to deliberate on how best to deal with the situation.
“The armyworm is under control but we cannot close the chapter because this is a pest. In 2016, it was in the system and it was not as noticed as we did this year. We are told by scientists that it has various ways of hiding to revamp its activities in the next season so we are working assiduously. Even as part of the marshal plan, we are going to debate and discuss all these issues to find out strategies to adopt. It might not only be a country strategy; it may have to be a regional strategy. We may have to link up with other countries. If cattle can cross borders, you can be sure of the armyworm,” he noted.
The fall armyworm is a hungry caterpillar that eats up crops before it grows into a butterfly. They lay their eggs on seedlings and leaves of plants and within 5 to 10 days, they launch a massive onslaught on food crops. Also, they feed on several crops including -staple food source – maize and cowpea and travel in the cool of the night destroying hectares of lands in their wake.
Over 112,000 hectares of farms across the country were ravaged by fall armyworms.
Government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) released over one thousand litres of chemicals to help fight the pests in various farms.
In July, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie assured Parliament that his team will create a strategic stock of chemicals in the regions and districts so that control will be issued whenever there is another attack.