Over 400 acres of farms have been destroyed by armyworms in about 20 communities in the Garu and Tempane district in the Upper East Region.
News of the destructions comes months after the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, told Parliament that government had dealt with the armyworm situation and that it was no longer a problem in the country.
Director of Food and Agriculture in the Garu and Tempane Districts, Dennis Asempambila told Adom New that since the invasion of the armyworms last year, they have been doing trial and error with various chemicals but have not been able to deal with the problem yet.
He said this year, the insects have begun attacking farms and have begun spreading to vegetable farms.
“Over 300 maize farms have been destroyed already and we also have reports that over 100 onion and other vegetable farms were attacked during the dry season,” he said.
The District MoFA Director believes the armyworm problem will get worse this year and cause food shortage in the area if nothing is done about it fast.
Mr Asempambila noted that even though there are extension officers who go around to sensitise farmers against the insects, they are sometimes handicapped as the office has a staff strength of only eight, with 13 national service persons for the two districts, with 200 communities and 70,000 farmers.
“We sometimes find it difficult to even go to the villages to interact with the farmers because, our motorbikes are old and some staff use their own motorbikes for this exercise,” he lamented.
Touching on the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs program, Dennis Asempambila said the government has directed that coupons be used for the distribution of fertilizer to minimise smuggling.
He said the farmers are registered and issued with one coupon for one fertilizer at a time but the coupons are usually woefully inadequate because there are 70,000 farmers in the area.
“If they were to share directions given, only 6,400 farmers will benefit and the remaining 63,600 will be denied.
He, therefore, appealed to those in charge to supply them with more coupons for every farmer to access the fertilizer.
Source : Adomonline.com