Farmers express optimism as Agric minister tours armyworm infested areas

Farmers in parts of the country have expressed optimism over Ghana winning the fight against the invasion of fall armyworms which have started destroying vast tracks of farmlands. This optimism follows the visit of Agric Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto.

The Fall Armyworms have for the past few weeks hit certain parts of the country, particularly the Ashanti, Brong and the Eastern Regions, causing destructions to crops especially Maize and Cocoa.

Affected farmers have been counting their losses following reports that about 1,500 acres of maize farms being destroyed.

File photo: Army worms invade a maize farm

However, some farmers have expressed hope that despite the threats posed by the invasion of the pests, they were still optimistic about better yields, thanks to the government’s intervention program dubbed “Planting for Food and Jobs”.

Government has rolled out a nationwide free spraying exercise to combat the infestation and also support farmers with inputs to compensate for their losses.

The farmers, who interacted with the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, during a tour to some farms at Ayensuano and Suhum Coaltar Districts in the Eastern Region, commended government for its efforts at combating the disease.

The farmers have equally expressed optimism over government’s Planting for Food and Jobs Policy to revive the ailing agric sector, despite reported invasion of fall armyworms in some parts of the country.

They however called for more efforts and interventions from the ministry to further consolidate the gains.

According to them, they have benefitted tremendously from the program, particularly in the area of extension services and the improved seeds, with some declaring their intentions to expand their acreages as a result of the program.

The visit was to afford the minister the opportunity to acquaint himself with the nature of the infestation and to also monitor the progress of work as far as the fight against the spread was concerned.

Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie stated in an interaction with the farmers that government was very much concerned about the outbreak since it has the tendency to derail efforts at revamping the agric sector.

He said it was for this reason that the Ministry was doing everything possible to arrest the situation and to prevent the infestation from further spread.

Some of the places visited by the Minister and his entourage, including members of the Technical Team from the Ministry, included Otoase, Boatengkrom and Kraboa Coaltar.

The Minister also seized the opportunity to inspect some of the farming inputs such as fertilizers and improved seeds dispatched to the districts as part of the Planting for food and jobs campaign.

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