armywormsgross
armywormsgross

The devastating Fall Army worms have destroyed more than 30 acres of cocoa, rice and maize farms in some communities in the Assin North District of the Central Region.

These predominantly farming communities with an estimated population of over 3,000 inhabitants include Ninkyiso, Yaw Atta, Teacher Amoah, Kwame Ankrah, Twapiase, Simpa, Kyeanka and Anwiaso.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, at Ninkyiso on Thursday, the farmers described the situation as disheartening and disincentive to hard work.

Nana Issaka Apewosika, an Elder of Ninkyikrom and a farmer, expressed shock that the rampaging worms have transcend from the destruction of maize to grass-like weeds and tree crops.

He said the worms are bent on devouring all our major food staples such as rice, millet, groundnut, cassava and major cash crops like cocoa and coffee trees.

“About an acre of my two-feet tall maize farm has been devastated by the worms. I have stopped visiting my farm because regardless of the series of sprays, the worms are still multiplying in their numbers,” he said.

According to him, the destruction of the worms in cocoa farms coupled with swollen shoot diseases, had also affected the quality and quantity of cocoa produce.

He called on officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Ghana Cocobod to as a matter of urgency collaborate effectively to stop the spread of the worms.

Nana Apewosika appealed to MOFA to scale-up education of farmers to drastically reduce the spread of the Fall Army Worms that were battling them in farms to secure national food security.

Other farmers complained about the price of the recommended chemicals saying, “we don’t have money to buy the quality and quantity of chemicals we need to regularly spray our farms”.

They also blamed the worms’ invasion and difficulties in containing the worms on proximity of different farms with different spraying schedules.

The farmers advocated for mass spraying of farms to effectively deal with the spread.

Mr Kojo Frimpong Manso, a farmer who was near tears, spoke of how his three acres of rice farm at Twapiase had been ravaged by the worms.

“I have used three different chemicals to spray the worms but all to no avail. How do I get the monies I have invested in my farm to sustain my life,” he said.

However, Mr Prince Osei-Poku, the Assin North Municipal Crops Officer who confirmed the devastating effects of the worms on the farms in the area, advised farmers to report suspected cases of strange worms to the Municipal Agric Directorate for redress and advice.

He indicated that the Municipality had run short of the Government recommended chemicals; therefore they only provided advisory services and recommended chemicals to farmers to buy in the open market to spray their farms.

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