Hon. Eric Opoku, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Asunafo South Constituency and Ranking Member on the Select Committee of Food and Agriculture, has expressed his disappointment at President Akufo- Addo, for failing to comment on the country’s Agric sector, the gains and the challenges bedevilling it.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo should have used his opening remarks during his encounter with the press held at the Flagstaff House on Tuesday to address the current issue of the fall armyworm destroying thousands of farms across the country.
It would be recalled as at June 2017, more than 25 African countries, including Ghana, were confirmed of recording armyworm infestations since the first official report of FAW presence in Nigeria, in January 2016.
The swarms had affected more than 1.5 million hectares of maize in just six affected countries.
The armyworm, or true armyworm, is a common early season pest that can cause occasional losses in corn and should be monitored for in the spring.
The name armyworm derives from its behavior of migrating in large numbers into fields similar to invading armies.
Information provided by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, George Oduro, also indicated that about 14,000 hectares of farms had been totally destroyed and 112,000 farms affected, a situation the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana describe as an existential threat to the livelihood of about 4 million farmers hence the need for the government to declare a state of emergency on army worms across the country.
Speaking to this paper in an interview, the Asunafo South MP noted per the statistics made available by the Minister of Food and Agriculture on the negative effects of armyworm, it is very alarming and poses a serious threat not only to farmers, but also the food security of Ghana since most of the major Ghanaian food staples are derived from corn.
“It was something that I was expecting that the president would use this opportunity to give assurance to our farmers and indicate practical measures in which the government is going to deal with this menace of armyworm invasion. The president of one of the affected African countries, Zambia, acknowledged how it was difficult fighting the armyworm through spraying and so the country’s Air Force was brought on board to help fight the worm using helicopters to do the spraying,” he said.
He revealed that the invasion of armyworms on the country’s farm is a disaster that needs serious attention of the government so that the country’s food security would not be threatened.
“This armyworm we are talking about here is not a small armyworm, it has affected most African countries and even in Ghana farms in all the ten regions have being affected, yes it has spread to all the ten regions. If the chemical imported into the country by the government to deal with this armyworm issue were really working on the farms we would not have gotten to the 112,000 figures we are mentioning now. So clearly you must know that what the farmers are saying is the truth that the chemical are not effective and can’t deal with armyworm attack,” he added.