Armyworms have invaded several cocoa farms in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality in the Ashanti region. The affected farmers say the application of pesticides to control the disease have not worked as it continues to spread to other farms.
The farms are in Mamponteng, Kona, Atia, Boamang, Amampama and other cocoa growing communities and it is likely to affect the 1 million metric tonnes target of cocoa production in the country if immediate measures are not put in place to address it.
The worms eat around the cocoa pod and produce some black spots on the cocoa, impeding its growth.
Whilst some farmers have managed to harvest half of their expected produce, others have lost everything.
Isaac Nuako works on a 4-acre cocoa farm. He lost all his investment on the 4-acre of land last year when the worms invaded his farm. The 46-year old farmer replanted again and 3 out the 4 acres have again been invaded by the worms.
“I’ve currently lost investment worth thousands of Ghana cedis last year when the armyworms infested my farm. I felt discouraged but I then again decided to replant but I’m facing the same problem this year also. 3 out of my 4 acres of cocoa farm have been destroyed by the pests”.
Another cocoa farmer, Thomas Muller, said he experienced the invasion last year but was not as severe as this year.
“Last year these same worms invaded my farm but they died within a short while, so the devastation was not that much. But this year, the situation is getting worse”.
Mr Muller pleaded with the government to fast-track moves to assist them control the spread of the worms to other farms.
The Ejisu-Juaben district chief cocoa farmer, Nana Kofi Mpiani, feared Ghana may not be able to achieve its target of producing 1 million tonnes of cocoa if the invasion of the armyworms on cocoa farms is not controlled.
The Ejisu-Juaben agric extension officer, Solomon Kumah, confirmed that the pests that have invaded the cocoa farms are armyworms.
He said the concern of the farmers came to their notice on Friday, and that the affected farms would be sprayed on Monday to prevent them from spreading to other farms.
Meanwhile, farmers have been advised to report any unusual pest invasion on their farms to their district agric office to avert severe loss.
By Ibrahim Abubakar |TV3 |3news.com