By Bajin D. Pobia
Lawra, (UWR), Oct. 07, GNA – The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) says it has detected a viral disease that affects mostly okra, cucumber, and tomato crops in the Lawra Municipality.
The disease is not peculiar to only Lawra, but also detected in other adjoining districts such as Lambussie.
“A report has been sent to our regional office for proper investigation to be conducted to come up with an effective solution,” Mr Yer Simon, the Lawra Municipal Director of Agriculture, has disclosed.
He said farmers in the affected districts had been advised to uproot and bury the affected plants to help stop their spread in the communities.
Mr Simon made this known when he gave an overview of the agricultural activities at a farmer’s forum held in Lawra to usher in the “Kobine” Festival of the Chiefs and people of the Lawra Traditional Area.
The forum was on the theme: “Crop cultivation in the era of climate change.”
Mr Simon, who spoke on “Sustaining our agricultural productivity in post COVID-19 challenges and opportunities”, said the department over the years worked effectively with women in the Agricultural Platform (WAP) to improve their agricultural activities in the municipality.
He announced that through the Modernisation of the Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme, one of the women groups had secured a rice milling destoner machine, to be used to improve the quality of locally milled rice.
He said 24 simple hand sewing machines were supplied on subsidised bases to some women and other farmer groups by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to help improve agricultural mechanisation and reduce drudgery in agricultural activities.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Ghana Rice Interoperability also gave 10 slashers to some groups for weeding and harvesting of rice in the municipality.
On the food crops situation, the Agricultural Director said farmers who planted early at the commencement of the rains had to re-sow due to poor germination of seeds in some parts of the municipality.
Mr Simon said input prices also recorded a marginal increase, and farmers who could not afford inorganic fertilizers for maize cultivation went into the growing of other crops such as soya beans, millet, sorghum, and groundnuts.
He said under the Planting for Food and Jobs, 400 bags of NPK fertilizer were brought to the municipality and farmers could not buy fertilizers from the open market due to higher prices of the product.
He said, the Fall Army Worm cases were recorded, and the situation was severe during the dry spell periods but that the department was able to secure some chemicals from the regional office and distributed to farmers free of charge to curtail the problem.
Outlining some of the challenges facing the department, Mr Simon mentioned that inadequate extension officers and coordination support were hindering the smooth extension delivery in the municipality.
Naa Dery Aatona , Chief of Zambo, who chaired the forum, urged farmers to diversify their farming activities especially in the areas of animal husbandry and livestock production in the wake of the climate change.
He appealed to the government to continue with the provision of small-scale dams in the communities to help farmers to undertake all-year-round farming activities.