Fall armyworm defeated- Agric Minister

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto Minister of Food Agriculture ,

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto Minister of Food Agriculture ,

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has insisted that the Fall Armyworms have been “defeated”, dispelling claims that the worms were still ravaging some farms across the country.

 

According to Dr Akoto, fears that Ghana’s food security for the next 12 months could be under threat was misplaced and not supported by the facts on the ground.

 

The ministry has been criticised especially by the Minority for doing little to address the Fall Armyworm situation which they claim still continue to ravage swathes of farms across the country.

 

Mr William Quaitoo Agyapong, a then Deputy Agriculture Minister had to resign over the fall armyworm infestation when he reiterated his boss’ position that the worms have been defeated, labelling farmers in the north who insisted their farms were still under attack as people who wanted to use the situation as a bait to extort money from government.

 

But appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in Accra yesterday, on audit report on agencies under the Agric Ministry, Dr Akoto reiterated that “the fall armyworms have been defeated.”

 

Dr Akoto was responding to a question filed by Builsa South MP, Dr Clement Apaak, who maintained that farmers in his constituency were still feeling the brunt of the worms.

 

Dr Akoto explained that the worms could not be conquered in its totality and that the impact on farms was a drop in the ocean looking at the general impact on production.

 

Per his statistics, of the over one million hectares of farms cropped, only 124,000 hectares were affected out of which 14,000 was destroyed.

 

The breakdown, he said, does not support claims that the infestation was dire and could affect food security.

 

“I am confident to say we have a bumper crop season because if the worms have destroyed the farms, there will be famine and I will be the first to raise the red flag but that is not the case, it’s the opposite.

 

“Scientifically, you cannot say that 1,4000 out of one million hectares is not a defeat. It is a defeat” he stated, adding that “we are expecting a bumper crop season.”

 

On what is being done to compensate those whose farms have been destroyed, Dr Akoto said affected farmers have been given a second chance during this minor season to plant.

 

“We have given them fertilisers, we have given them improved seeds and they are doing it again. We have also distributed the seven different types of insecticide to control the outbreak and that we have done since April”, he said, revealing that the 216 assemblies should have enough stock to dispatch to farms to control the worms.

 

He said looking at how Ghana has addressed the fall armyworm attack as against how its neighbours have suffered from same infestation, “we should be commended rather than being condemned.”

 

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