Farmers schooled on fall armyworm infestation

By
Godfred A. Polkuu, GNA

Kalbeo (U/E), July 17, GNA – The Bolgatanga
Municipal Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has
sensitized peasant farmers at Kalbeo, a community in the Municipality on
effective ways to spray their farms to reduce the invasion of fall armyworms.

The farmers were shown the various types of
chemicals used to spray the fall armyworms, how to reconstitute the chemicals
with water, the process of spraying and precautionary measures needed to be
observed when applying the chemicals.

Dr Bernard My-Issah, the Bolgatanga
Municipal Director of MOFA, said during their monitoring visits to farms within
the Municipality, they observed that the fall army worm infestation was a major
concern.

He said “there is a gap in terms of the
capacity to fight the fall armyworms and the technical know-how on the part of
the farmer”.

Dr My-Issah said “the worm has a certain
characteristics, it is first of all, a flying insect, it will lay eggs, pupate
and fly away. The dangerous stage is when it turns into a larvae and moves
about to destroy the crops”.

“If we identify eggs on the field and start
the spraying, we will reduce the hatchery rate and if the larvae are there, we
will also reduce them to pupates. The adult insect has no problem, the problem
is when it becomes a larvae or caterpillar moving about.”

The Director said the caterpillar is
different from other caterpillars because whereas ordinary caterpillars would
only devour the leaves of plants and they could rejuvenate, the fall armyworms
bowed into the follicle of plants, especially maize plants and ate them up.

He said even though government has supplied
some quantities of chemicals to combat the worms, the quantities were “woefully
inadequate, it cannot reach every farmer, and should you identify few farms and
spray, you have done nothing.”

He said series of sensitizations efforts
have been made on the effective use of chemicals to halt the spread of
armyworms in farming communities.

Dr My-Issah said there are different types
of chemicals that have the potency to reduce the rate of infestation and called
on farmers who could afford the chemicals on their own to acquire them as the
current supply from government is limited.

The Director said his outfit would ensure
that the chemicals provided by government would be used to demonstrate to
farmers in all farming communities to raise awareness on how to combat the fall
armyworms.

“After we demonstrate to farmers on how to
use the chemicals, whatever chemical is left, we leave it with the community to
share among themselves.”

He called on farmers to be vigilant. “As
soon as you see the fly hovering around your farm, know that it will deposit
eggs, so arm yourself immediately to spray”.

Mr Richard Akeemboya, a farmer in the Kalbeo
community, said the move by MOFA to sensitize farmers was in the right
direction adding that it would help them identify early signals of the presence
of the worms to enable them respond swiftly.

GNA

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