Fall Army Worms (FAW), the worms that wreaked havoc on large hectares of farms last year, have resurfaced in the Nanumba South District and the West Mamprusi Municipality in the Northern Region.
Checks by the Daily Graphic revealed that large hectares of rice and maize farms in those areas had been destroyed by the worms, causing panic among farmers.
This is because all efforts by the farmers to fight the worms have not yielded result.
There are fears of low yields and food insecurity at the affected areas as most farmers whose rice and maize farms have been badly affected by the worms had cleared their farms for re-planting.
According to some of the farmers, the situation was heartbreaking and a disincentive to farming, for which reason they appealed to the government to adopt proactive measures to combat the worms as a matter of urgency.
One of the farmers at Wulensi in the Nanumba South District, Mr Zakaria Abdulai, said he had hoped to recover from last year’s losses to the army worm invasion, “but unfortunately this year, the worms have destroyed large hectares of my maize farm again”.
He claimed that chemicals supplied by the government to combat the worms were not powerful enough and, therefore, had not yielded any positive results.
“Out of frustration, I had to apply ‘OMO’ detergent to my maize farm as suggested by a friend but it did not work. We are, therefore, appealing to the government to take urgent steps to tackle the problem,” Mr Abdulai added.
A farmer at Duu, a farming community in the West Mamprusi Municipality, Mr Buzongo Duko, also claimed that about 23 hectares of his maize farm were destroyed by the worms, for which reason he had cleared the crops to re-plant.
When contacted, the Nanumba South District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Sulemana Bawa Abdul-Rahaman, said the directorate was embarking on a sensitisation exercise to educate farmers on how to use the chemicals to fight the worms effectively.
He said the directorate was also taking stock of the number of farms that had been affected by the worms to see how the victims could be supported.
The director, however, debunked claims by some farmers that the chemicals that were supposed to be distributed to them free were being sold by his outfit, stating: “I have heard such claims, but my office does not sell the chemicals to farmers. They might have gone to the agro-chemical shops to buy them.”
“The directorate is the only accredited place farmers can contact for the chemicals, which are free of charge. I am, therefore, appealing to the farmers to report any worm invasion on their farms to us so that we can give them the chemicals,” Mr Abdul-Rahaman said.
Early this year, the MoFA hinted of the government’s plans to strengthen the national pest surveillance system to provide early warning and emergency response to avert the invasion of the FAW that affected agricultural production in the country.
According to the ministry, it had already put in some preventive measures to deal with the situation. But for farmers in the Nanumba South District and the West Mamprusi Municipality, such interventions were yet to reach them.