Government has so far expended about GH₵10m on insecticides procurement in a bid to combat the Fall armyworm(FAW) outbreaks throughout the country.
It is a new pest in Africa that attacks maize and also feeds on a range of other crops, including millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, sugar cane and vegetables.
Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi told Members of Parliament, when he was asked a question by Member of Parliament for Ashiaman, Ernest Norgbey, on the procurement method used in procuring the insecticides for the armyworm eradication as well the cost and impact.
“The total cost of the procurement is GH₵9,998,896 and the armyworm has been generally controlled.”he said.
The pests have destroyed more than 1,370 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa farms in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and western regions of the country so far this year, according to the agricultural ministry.
Fall armyworms destroyed 4,500 hectares of farmlands in Ghana last year.
Fall armyworms, which originated in the Americas, had never been seen on the African continent before last year. But since then, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and other African nations have seen the pests invade farms.
The Agric Ministry had said it will need 16 million cedis ($4 million) to fight the outbreak, half of which will go into the purchase of chemicals, with the remainder being used on education.
Government has already established the National Taskforce for the Control and Management of the Invasion. Taskforce members include the Veterinary Services and National Disaster Management Organization, among others.
However, in spite of all these interventions, there has been outcry from sections of farmers that that are still battling with FAW.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture(MOFA)in early March this year received reports of fall armyworm outbreaks throughout the country.
Considering the urgency of the situation and the impact on food security and farm families, the Minister, Dr. Afriyie Akoto submitted memorandum to Cabinet for support to fund the management activities including the procurement of insecticides.
Dr. Bambangi further indicated that Cabinet approved the budget for the management of the FAW throughout the country.
The Ministry quickly collaborated with UN Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) and Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) for the recommended insecticides registered in Ghana and also registered for the control of FAW in Brazil, USA and other African countries.
On receipt of the recommendations from FAO and CABI, the Minister then invited all companies who had registered the recommended insecticides with the Environmental Protection Agency to a meeting and appealed to them to supply on credit.
In all 12 agro chemical companies supplied the insecticides they had in stock to the Ministry to undertake the control exercise.
“The Ministry having secured the above facility from the companies consequently requested for a retrospective approval from the Public Procurement Authority for emergency supply of insecticides to control the fall armyworm.
The Public Procurement Authority granted the request of the use of Single Source Procurement Method to engage various supplies to undertake the procurement of insecticides in accordance with section 40(1) c of the Public Procurement Act,2003 (Act 663).
By Eugene Davis/BFT