General News of Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Contrary to claims made by the Agric Minister, Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie that government has eliminated fall armyworms which have plagued farmers since 2017, the Director of the Directorate of Crop Services at the Ministry for Food and Agriculture, Emmanuel Asante Krobea has conceded that the pests cannot be exterminated in the long haul.
According to him, battling what has become the nemesis of his outfit will be like eradicating mosquitoes in the country.
“Fall armyworm are just like mosquitoes, mosquitoes have been with us and they are always there…” he said.
Asante Krobea stated that his outfit is developing a system to prevent mosquitoes from reducing the maize production across the country down adding that “it is not anybody’s wish that fall armyworm will infest maize production across the country”
He was of the view that every Ghanaian must accept that armyworms are always going to be with us therefore it’s about time we accept that and work around it”
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.
Ghana is estimated to have lost about US$64 million through the fall armyworm infestation.
The pests, detected in the country some 15 months ago, have since attacked more than 20,000 hectares of farms, nationwide.
Research scientists attached to the Biotechnology Research Programme (BRP) of the Crop Research Institute (CRI), have prescribed a solution – to end the havoc the armyworms have been wreaking on farms.
Despite the various approaches and efforts by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to curb the incidence of these pests, they keep increasing and affecting yields across the country.