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 armyworm infestation is 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 eats 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 sensitization efforts have been made on the effective use of chemicals to halt the spread of army worms 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 is in the right direction adding that it would help them identify early signals of the presence of the worms to enable them respond swiftly.