Agric minister spends $20m on wrong chemicals – MP reveals

Ghanaian farmers are battling fall armyworms which has caused destruction to their farms[/caption] The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has been accused of spending 20 million dollars on wrong pesticides that lacked the efficacy to deal with the troubling fall armyworms. The Member of Parliament for Bongo, Mr. Edward Bawa who made the claim suggested that failure to procure the right chemicals could explain the widespread of the armyworms. At least 14,000 farmlands with an estimated size of 182,000 hectares have been affected by the epidemic representing two percent of the nation’s total farmlands. Claims by the sector minister that the fight against the armyworms has been won have been contested and shot down by many including farmers, parliamentarians, and independent checks by TV3. Contributing to a discussion on the subject on TV3’s Saturday edition of New Day,  Edward Bawa revealed that the Minister of Agriculture “spent 20 million dollars on wrong chemicals”. He also suggested that the minister lied when he told MPs that armyworms have been “eradicated”. The minister’s position was surprising to him because it was coming barely a week after peasant farms had called on government to declare a state of emergency. Mr. Joe Jackson, a financial analyst, stated that he was “extremely skeptical about the declaration” that the fight has been won. He wondered why the minister will “declare victory so quickly and easily when there is nothing on the ground to show”. He suspected that the minister was only playing politics with his answers to parliament this week. Dr. Ahmed Jinapor, a senior lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, feared Ghana may have to import maize from Burkina Faso if care is not taken. He recalled the minister being booed by the MPs when he claimed the armyworms had been defeated, an indication that “even MPs didn’t take him serious.” Dr. Jinapor, assessing the situation said, the Agric Ministry “has not been efficient” and using “ineffective” pesticides, which he said is an “indictment” on the minister. “I don’t know what the minister is doing, I’m disappointed, it shows that he is not taking the issue serious”. For Nana Fredua-Agyeman Ofori-Atta, of the New Patriotic Party, it would not be accurate for the minister to claim the armyworms have been defeated, but observed that what he inferred from the minister’s presentation was that the ministry is on its way to defeating armyworms.

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By Isaac Essel | |Ghana]]>