Government is to reinforce quarantine activities at the country’s various entry points to prevent invasions of the Fall Army Worm (FAW) affecting agricultural production, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Dr. Sagre Bambangi, has said.
“Government is determined to deepen its awareness and sensitisation campaigns as well strengthen the national pest surveillance system to provide early warning and emergency responses to avert invasion of the farmlands this year,” he said.
The minister announced this at a training workshop for some selected media personnel on the effective reporting of Fall Army Warm (FAW) incidence in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital.
The event – organised by the Agric Ministry in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, the Ghana Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) II of USAID and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services (PPRSD) – was to provide an opportunity for media personnel to share experiences and information on how to address the issue of FAW.
The beneficiaries selected from the three regions of the north are to collaborate with the Department of Agriculture and Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to create awareness on early detection of the worms so as to avoid any losses this year.
According to the Deputy Minister, in response to the outbreak government released an emergency fund of GH15.8million in 2017.
“Due to the vigilance and hard work of the ministry and taskforce, the effect was minimised significantly – having only a negligible impact on food security in the country,” he said.
He stressed that the ministry will collaborate with researchers to conduct research into biological control as a medium- to long-term means of managing the pest.
He said a capacity building programme for farmers and agricultural extension agents on early detection and management of FAW will be held to educate them.
The Deputy Director of PPRSD, Mr. Ebenezer Aboagye, said the potential impact of FAW is particularly high due to the large amount of maize, rice and sorghum being grown; and so it will require medium and longer-term responses and actions to address the immediate emergency farmers are facing.
“The ability to handle the worms with care can help achieve targetted yields for the farmers to feed the nation and also sell the rest to generate revenue,” he said.