The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has said it is taking steps to curb the outbreak of Fall Army Worm (FAW), including the release of certified pesticides to farmers.
According to the ministry’s Northern Regional Director of Agricultural, Hawa Musah, the pesticides are being released to farmers through municipal and district Directors of Agriculture at various farming communities, along with other interventions to contain the deadly worm that attacks crops like maize and sorghum, among others, in northern parts of the country.
“We know FAW has come to stay, and so we have also put in place measures to fight against the pest through the provision of chemicals and continuous capacity training to the farmers and Agric Extension Agents (AEAS),” she told the B&FT in Tamale.
Her comments come on the back of complaints by smallholder farmers in the region about government’s failure to support the fight against FAW.
The farmers lamented that the worms cause huge damage to staple cereals, especially maize and sorghum – leading to huge losses, as well as affecting food security and trade every year.
She however said the ministry, upon learning of the outbreak, procured chemicals which were immediately handed over to district officers for distribution to the farmers; and that farmers who are yet to receive the pesticides should report to the nearest District Agriculture office.
She added that before the pesticides are handed to farmers, an inspection of the affected farms is first conducted by extension officers to ascertain the situation.
“Despite the effort being made by government and other private sector players, some farmers are also not helping themselves to curb the situation,” she said.
The failure on the part of some farmers to adhere to guidelines provided for ensuring good agronomic practices, according to her, is to blame for continuous spread of the pest.
She therefore advised farmers should endeavour to purchase only certified pesticides from certified shops to add to the few provided by government to help curb spread of the worms.
She added her office has been liaising with the extension officers to ensure farmers within the affected areas engage in good agronomic practices to increase their crop-yields.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), farmers need significant support to manage FAW sustainably in their cropping systems through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) activities, because the FAW cannot be eliminated.