Danger is looming in the country as invasive army worms, called fall worms, are attacking maize farms.
The Plant Protection and Regulatory Unit of the Ministry of Food and Agricultural (MOFA), has confirmed worm invasion in the Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Central, Northern, Upper East and Western regions.
A Principal Crop Scientist and Deputy Director of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Dr. Mumuni Abdulai, in an interview with The Ghanaian Times, said the fall worm invasion threatened food security in the country, adding that “the new worms have the potential of invoking a very severe hunger on the country if immediate measures are not taken to combat it.”
Dr. Abdulai said the worms within seven days, had destroyed about 15 hectares of maize farms within the Tolon District, including four hectares of the research maize experimental fields belonging to SARI.
“The new species of fall worms found attacking the maize fields in Nyankpala are the first of its kind in the country, which has the capability of attacking and destroying maize fields within days”, he said.
Dr. Abdulai advised farmers to stop late planting of maize and use the recommended pesticides to stop the spread of the worm.
A smallholder farmer, Mr. Alhassan Hassan, whose farm had been destroyed by the fall worms, said, the “worm invasion is very horrible,” and was discouraging him from entering into maize cultivation this year.
“We cannot afford to finance the spraying of our farms continuously every three days as suggested by the agriculture authorities, because the only money we saved the past farming season is what we used for land preparation as well as planting,” he said.
Mr. Haruna Alidu, a maize breeder at SARI, complained that the worms had attacked breeder seed fields where certified seeds were produced for farmers to plant.
“We are currently visiting different fields, assessing the damage caused by the pest and monitoring the spraying process,” he said.
From Geoffrey Buta, Nyankpala