Farmers affected by armyworms to get gov’t support package

File photo: Armyworms invade a maize farm[/caption] The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says it is working on a support package for farmers whose farms have been destroyed by armyworms across the country. A statement issued by the Ministry said plans are advanced on the support package but did not give details as to the kind of support and how the affected farmers will be identified or selected to receive the support. “Plans are also far advanced to support farmers whose farms were devastated by the armyworms,” the statement said. It said agreement has been signed with the University of Ghana to train personnel of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Division of MOFA as part of measures being taken to prevent future occurrence. It explained the partnership bolster the emergency response ability of the Ministry in fighting all forms of diseases that affect crops and animals in the country. We’ve not spent GHC20M  Meanwhile, the Ministry has denied claims by Member of Parliament, Edward Bawa, that it spent GHC20 million to procure wrong chemicals to fight the armyworm invasion. It described the allegation as propaganda that is intended to taint the image and reputation of the Ministry and the Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto. “…We would like to state emphatically that MOFA has not spent GH 20M on wrong chemicals as the story sought to portray. The Ministry said the Finance Ministry released an amount of GHC16 million out of which GH 15,815 million was released to MOFA. It explained that part of the money was to be used for the procurement of approved chemicals, sensitization and awareness creation, as well as procurement of logistics for gang spraying team put in place by the National Taskforce and the Committee set up to oversee the fight against the pests. “It will interest everyone to know that these chemicals were approved after exhaustive consultations with sister countries, the CSIR, EPA and the PPRSD under the Ministry before orders were made for their purchase,” it said. According to MOFA, reports it has so far received across the country indicated massive progress in the fight against the armyworms. “MOFA will like to assure farmers that the National Surveillance and Monitoring Taskforce made up of personnel from NADMO, CSIR, FAO and PPRSD will continue to be on the ground to response to distress calls of farmers as we deal with pockets of reports of infection,” it added. It expressed optimism that Ghana will witness bumper harvests in all the major crops including maize, sorghum, soyabean and rice despite the armyworm situation.

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MP stands by claim But Mr Bawa has rubbished the response by MOFA, and insisted on his claims. “The chemicals are not killing the pests and what this simply means is that the pesticides are wrong chemicals”, he told Bright Kwesi Asempa, host of the “Yen Nsem Pa” on Onua FM Monday. No wrong chemical procured  However, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, William Quaitoo Agyapong, has denied that the chemicals are not killing the pest. “No wrong chemical has been procured,” he said. He instead accused the Mahama government of using wrong chemicals in fighting the pest. According to Mr Agyapong, the pest are under control, but there is a possibility of them re-emerging even when they have been eradicated. He explained that when the armyworm issue was reported to them, they took a sample of the pest to a laboratory in the United Kingdom for examination and a recommendation on the sort of pesticides to use in fighting the armyworm was made. Seven chemicals, he said, were recommended to fight the armyworm. By|Ghana]]>