MOFA dispatches pesticides to combat army worm

The Ministry of Food and Agricultural (MOFA) yesterday dispatched more than 8,000 litres of pesticides to the five northern regions to combat the recent fall army worm invasion.

In addition, the ministry has also provided 3,570 kilogrammes of the powdered pesticides to these regions to promptly combat the army worm threat.

The regions are Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West with a crop cultivated area of 33,542 hectares.

The Director of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of MOFA, Dr  Felicia Ansah-Amprofi,  told the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.

She stated that the pesticides that were sent on Tuesday would serve as back-up in the regions.

Dr  Ansah-Amprofi said the ministry has in stock enough pesticides to  control the fall army worm infestation, adding that surveillance by the officials at the directorate revealed there would be an infestation of the worms and that they were ready.

She said since March this year the ministry has distributed 20,665 kilogrammes of powered pesticides  and 79,560 litres pesticides countrywide to farmers for spraying the fall army worms.

The Director said so far eight hectares of farmland in the Greater Accra Region have been destroyed by the worms.

Dr Ansah-Amprofi said as part of efforts to help reduce the menace, the Directorate had also intensified its education to farmers on how to reduce the menace.

She said the ministry would next year import insects “telenomus” from Brazil and also breed insects “coccogidium sp” in Ghana to feed on the fall army worms on pilot base.

The Director said the insects were natural enemies to the fall army worms.

She said officials from MOFA have also been deployed throughout the country to monitor the situation.

The Director said the worms attacked and fed on over 80 varieties of crops, stating that they have come to stay and can only be managed.

Dr Ansah-Amprofi urged farmers to promptly alert agriculture extension officers immediately they detect the worms on their farms, adding that when these cases are reported early crops can be protected.

She advised them to also plant early and harvest their crops early.

“Farmers should also endeavour to spray their infested crops early in the morning and in the evening to ensure its effectiveness,” She added.

She encouraged farmers to use improved seeds when planting their crops and also cultivate good sanitation practices on their farms.

Dr Ansah-Amprofi urged farmers to adopt mix farming practices to reduce the worms from destroying their farms.

The Director appealed to the media to collaborate with the ministry to help in the sensitisation programmes to farmers.


BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI

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