Business News of Saturday, 14 April 2018
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has ruled out the possibility of permanently tackling the invasion of fall armyworms on farms in the country.
This follows the return of the pests in some farms across the country this year, despite assurances from the government that it had tackled the invasion of armyworms in 2017.
The Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry, Dr. Felicia Ansah Ampofo, said her outfit had in that regard devised measures to effectively manage these farms and keep them safe from destruction.
“The fall army has come to stay. It has become a regional problem. There is, therefore, the need to holistically manage them so as to reduce its adverse effects on agriculture. With this in mind, we have put in place, short medium and long-term management measures with the support of international organizations such as the FAO and development partners…We have adopted a regional approach to ensure effective management of the farms.”
An Adviser to the Fall Army Worm National Taskforce at the Ministry for Food and Agriculture, Kwesi Coboi, on Eyewitness News also confirmed that government was indeed putting in place a strategy to control fall armyworm infestation on farms.
“Ghana has shown great leadership in addressing the fall armyworm.We have to approach this from a visual perspective. This is an evasive pest. It is here to stay. We want to manage and ensure that it falls between a certain level of infestation that will not pose any threat to farms.”
The Ministry of Agriculture’s suggestion that fall armyworms had come to stay somewhat contradicts government’s earlier stance that it had permanently tackled the problem.
The government has on multiple occasions, announced that it has succeeded in ending the fall armyworm invasion.
In August, the Agriculture Ministry stated that farms were recovering from the outbreak, while Deputy Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sagre Bambangi declared that the armyworms had been conquered.
‘Gov’t hasn’t defeated fall armyworms yet’
The Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), however, rubbished these suggestions, accusing the government of belittling the impact of the fall army-worm invasion that had decimated farms across the country.
The General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Kareem, had said the nonchalant response from state institutions might have contributed to the failure to end the invasion.
“The invasion is ongoing. As long as the armyworms continue to be on our soil, they’ll continue to cause destruction because each day, the armyworm must live and destroy. As to whether you consider the destruction significant or not is up to your own judgment, but the armyworm continues to destroy. I don’t think the armyworms have surrendered. The Ministry stated that they had defeated the armyworm completely which we disagreed with. I don’t think we are near the stage where we can state that armyworms are out of our environment completely,” he said.