Date Created : 5/30/2017 6:23:15 AM : Story Author : Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
Following the launch of the government’s programme of “Planting for Food and Jobs”, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MFA), has rolled out a programme to tour all Regions and Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enable the officials of the Ministry to familiarize themselves with the various implementing agencies and staff.
However, the nationwide invasion of the Fall Armyworm (with the Binomial name, Spodoptera frugiperda), has been identified as a major early threat to the security of the implementation of the programme thereby moving the Ministry quickly into action to nip the potential draught-causing invasion in the bud by embarking on emergency visits to affected farms.
In like move, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture and Member of Parliament for Akim Oda Constituency, Hon. William Agyapong Quaitoo, has visited several farms in the Ga East Municipality.
Accompanied by a Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr. Nii Hammond and the Greater Accra Regional Officer for the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Banini, visited farms at Abokobi, Akporman and Hebron, a farming community near Abokobi.
At Abokobi, the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD) of GEMA, Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, led the Minister and his entourage and some staff of the Agric Department to his backyard farm at his residence.
The Minister was impressed about the nearly one-acre maize farm cultivated by the MCD and assured him of the needed support to ensure that his farm escapes the invasion and thrives.
The Minister’s team visited Hebron where the Fall Armyworm had invaded a four-acre maize farm and destroyed it completely and from there inspected other farms at Akporman.
Hon. Agyapong Quaitoo assured the farmers of Government and his Ministry’s preparedness to deal with the invasion and support those affected to recoup some of the losses.
Speaking to GEMANEWS after the inspection visit, a Deputy Director and Desk Officer in charge of the PPRSD for the Agric Department of GEMA, Mr. Godfred Lomotey, said the move had become necessary to assess damage caused to the farms as a result of the invasion and avert any further destruction.
“Emergency has been declared by the State and for that matter they are going round to inspect and assess the situation.”
He said the Ministry has released packages of the chemicals meant for the control of the invasion and would be applied on affected and non-affected farms throughout the municipality soon.
Mr. Lomotey however disclosed that an experimental chemical, Sulphur 80, which is not part of chemicals approved was used on the MCD’s farm and appeared to have worked as a Fall Armyworm was found dead on the farm.
“It was the first place we saw an animal (Fall Armyworm) dead as a result of the spraying of the Sulphur 80 and we are going to try and see the need if it can be incorporated into the package of chemicals that could be used. It is an organic chemical and has got no side effects.”