Peasant farmers in Ghana on Monday called on the government to do more to fight fall army worms which have infected over 112,000 hectares of farmlands across the country.
Charles Nyaaba, Programs Officer of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, said the effect of the fall armyworm infestation was getting out of control, calling on the government to declare a state of emergency to mobilize resources, both human and material, to contain the invasion.
“The issue has gone out of control. So let’s declare a state of emergency,” he told Joy Fm, a local radio in the capital, adding: “We don’t need to sit here and pretend that all is well when our farmers are suffering at the grassroots.”
The fall armyworm originated in Central and South American and found itself into West Africa in January, 2016, and finally arrived in Ghana in April, 2016, at the close of the cropping season.
They have destroyed several thousands of farms in Ghana.
The pest, which is the larval form of the fall armyworm moth, has appetite for consuming more than 100 different species, including maize, cereals, and leafy vegetables, and resist pesticides if its larvae develop into advanced stages.
According to the Agricultural Workers Union, Ghana should expect an acute shortage of food by the end of the year because of the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the containment of the fall armyworm invasion, despite its claim that the situation was under control.
The group claims that over 100,000 hectares of farmlands have been affected, with farmers making huge losses.
But the government says it has done enough to control the invasion and is dealing decisively with the threat due to its destructive nature.
As of last week, about 14,000 hectares of farms had been totally destroyed, according to George Oduro, a deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture.
“At the moment, we are managing the situation in such a way that they cannot spread further. You can’t eradicate the fall armyworm; all you can do is to manage it,” he said.