MORE than 1,350 hectares of crops, mostly maize, have been invaded by the Fall Army Worm in the Central Region.
The Central Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr Gershon Wodzrah, who announced this in Cape Coast yesterday, said the worm infestation posed a serious threat to the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme in the region.
Mr Wodzrah, who was briefing a Central Regional Coordinating Council meeting, said: "The worms are dangerously attacking and chewing down the efforts of farmers."
The meeting was to assess topical issues affecting the development of the region.
The Fall Army Worm
The Fall Army Worm infestation, said to be alien to the African tropics, is on a rampage in all 20 districts in the Central Region attacking crops.
The worms usually attack in the night crushing everything in its way.
"They hide in the day and operate at night making it difficult to control them," the director explained.
Mr Wodzrah further indicated that after some time the caterpillars develop into butterflies and fly into other farms where they lay new larvae and continue with their cycle of destruction.
He, therefore, said farms of potential participants in the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, faced imminent attacks.
So far, 3,485 persons, including 2,935 males and 550 females, have registered to be on the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
The MoFA has also taken delivery of about 100 tonnes of maize and 16 tonnes of rice seeds for distribution to farmers for the exercise.
According to the director, since "the worms mostly attack cereals, it will be the greatest threat to the success of the programme”.
Mr Wodzrah said the ministry has procured inputs for spraying of the affected farms.
"We have received chemicals for spraying and we are hopeful the outbreak would be controlled," he gave an assurance.
He called on metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to, as a matter of urgency, set up spraying gangs to spray the farms to help control the spread of the pest to other farms.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamina Duncan, expressed the hope that the situation would be brought under control.