A lecturer at the Agric Department of the University of Ghana has urged the Agric Ministry to, as a matter of urgency stop farmers from using self-made concoctions to fight the rampaging fall army worms.
Dr Irene Agyiri said while these concoctions may yield short term good results, the medium to long term implications could be disastrous not just for the sector but also for humans as well.
She was reacting to reports farmers have resorted to mixing detergents and pepper to spray farms taken over by the fall army worms.
The worms have attacked over 112,000 hectares of farm lands devouring completely over 14,000 farms.
At least four million farmers have been affected by the attack and growing even more weary each passing day.
The attack is threatening Ghana’s food security but officials of the Ministry of Agric say they have the attack under control.
They have distributed some chemicals to farmers across the country as a first measure to solving the canker.
But the efforts of the Ministry have not been assuring enough for the farmers. They have resorted to self-help, Programme Officer of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Charles Koweh Nyaaba has said.
“In Tumu farmers have started using detergents -Omo [washing powder]- and mixing it with pepper to spray their farms; and it is working for them.
“According to them [farmers], that is what they are doing and it is more effective than the chemicals that the government is supplying to them,” he stated on the Super Morning Show, Monday.
But Dr Irene Agyiri insists the issue of the concoction must be taken seriously. Whilst she understands the frustrations the farmers are going through and the desire to salvage the huge investment that has gone into the farming season, she would not recommend the use of the detergents.
“We don’t know the residue levels of this concoctions,” she said, hinting further, it may have health implications.
Dr Agyiri called on the ministry to mobilize and resource district managers of Agriculture to embark on serious educational campaigns to fight the canker.
Fall armyworm moths are attracted to extremely late planted corn, which normally can sustain considerable damage from this pest.
The fall armyworm moth, which is a new kind of worm is believed to spread quickly in farms and has disastrous consequences to crops especially maize.