Army worm infestation: ‘83 famine likely to occur again – Maize Farmers Assoc.

File photo: Army worms invade a maize farm[/caption] General Secretary of the Concern Maize Farmers Association Hassan Suleman has predicted that Ghana may experience serious famine akin to what hit the country in 1983 if measures are not put in place to control the army worm infestation, which has engulfed some farming communities across the country.    According to Hassan Suleman, maize is a major component of diet for many people in Ghana and that people are going to suffer if the pest is not controlled. Fall armyworm has invaded most of the farming communities across the country, destroying food crops worth millions of Cedis. Following this, government allocated GH¢ 16 million for the purchase of insecticides to fight the the pests. Government also formed a taskforce with the mandate of controlling and managing the worms before the situation escalates. But speaking on the Monday edition of Onua FM’s morning show Yen Nsem Pa, Mr Suleman lamented that the initiative came late as most of the farmers, particularly those in the northern part of the country, had incurred debts in trying to salvage their produce. He added that a total of 80,000 hectares of farm lands, representing about 80 percent of crop farms, had been destroyed. “If nothing is done about the issue quickly, the hunger that hit the country in 1983 may occur again. “There were pesticides that have been brought in by the government but here at Brong Ahafo [Region] where the worms have destroyed the crops planted during the early part of the year, but it came late as we have lost large portions of the maize crop to the ravaging pests.” Meanwhile, Minister of State in charge of Agriculture at the office of the President Dr. Gyielie Nurah, in an interview, debunked Mr. Suleman’s famine prediction, saying government has done and is continuing to put measures in place so as to preventing the pest from spreading further, adding that the farmers initially thought the insect were just mere insect, and so they went buying insect chemicals to spray their farms, but ended up compounding the problem. He noted that the fight against the fall armyworm has been very successful, particularly in the northern part of the country, and very soon the pest would be fully controlled to avert further losses in farm produce across the country. By Bright Dzakah|Onua 95.1 FM||Ghana

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