The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Yaw Frimpong Addo, says government will this year deploy a biological control agent to tackle the destructive Fall Army Worm (FAW).
He said though the infestation had largely been contained, it was still persistent in some partd of the country and creating a yield gap for some crops with less than 50 per cent of their potential yields.
“I understand for this year, we are going to have biological weapons to fight the fall army so we will see who will win that fight,” he said at the Opening session of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) Learning Event.
In an interview, he described the outbreak of the fall Army Worm in 2017 as an ambush on government, adding that, “the eggs had been laid in 2016 and they unleashed themselves unto our farmers in 2017 and it was a very bad situation for the Ministry.”
Since then, he said the government through donor support had collaborated with researchers to fight the infestation using various mechanism.
“The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) has developed a biological chemical to deal with them and has been distributed to farmers. And when you go to every district, we have ensured that they have these chemical in stock.
“The moment any farmer detects any sign of FAW invasion, immediately the person is supplied with this chemical to go and combat the FAW, ” he said.
Experts have identified Safer Garden Dust as a highly selective biological pesticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis to control leaf-eating caterpillars and worms.
Caterpillars are known to stop feeding within a few hours after ingesting a treated portion of the leaf.
Ghana first reported FAW infestation in the Yilo Krobo district of the Eastern region in 2016.
According to MOFA, Government, through the Ministry of Food Agriculture, responded with a budget of GHS16 Million to fight the plague.