Maize production in the Sissala East Municipality of the Upper West region is under threat. This follows the emergence of fall armyworms in the area.
Some farmers in the area are already counting their losses as acres of maize farms are currently under attack.
Samadu Salinwia, a farmer at Chinchang whose twenty-acre farm has been ravaged by the worms said he was devastated by the situation and appealed to government to urgently supply chemicals that can effectively control the pests.
“The issue of the fall armyworms is of great concern to us. My farm has been attacked. I went to the Agric people and they came here to see things for themselves. They later provided me with some chemicals but those chemicals seem ineffective because the worms are still here. So we are appealing to the government to come to our aid. Farming is becoming something that we can no longer boast of.”
The Sissala East municipality is predominantly an agricultural area and over ninety percent of the farmers grow maize.
Available records from the Sissala East municipal directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture indicate that the area produced over sixty thousand metric tons of maize last year; making the municipality the food basket of the Upper West Region.
However, Mr. Anchong Iddrisu, owner of a forty-two-hectare maize farm said that he reduced his farm by over ten-hectares this year because of the ravaging impact of the fall armyworms.
He warned that the situation has the potential of creating serious food insecurity in the area.
“The government is not tackling this fall armyworms as it is supposed to do. Look at my farm, I am compelled to reduce the acreage because it is really expensive to buy the chemicals. The Agric people only give chemicals to cater for only up to five acres. You will go and spray the five acres but the remaining field will affect where you have sprayed. This thing must be addressed or else, we will die of hunger.”
Ghana is estimated to have lost about US$64 million through the fall armyworm infestation in 2018.
The pests, detected in the country some three years ago, have since attacked more than 50,000 hectares of farms, nationwide.
The farmers in the Sissala East area complained that the chemicals prescribed are ineffective and not easily accessible.
The Sissala East Municipal Director of the Department of Food and Agriculture, Clement Kawuribe confirmed to Citi News that some farmers have reported the invasion of the worms on their farms to his office.
He, however, maintained that his office can only take care of smallholder farmers who are under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ).
He disclosed that even though the municipality is yet to receive its share of spraying chemicals for this year’s planting season, there is enough back stock of chemicals from last year’s consignment that can contain the situation.
The director encouraged large scale farmers to buy their chemicals from the open market, saying “most farmers are commercial farmers and should be ready to buy from the open market because we can only provide for five acres”.
The Sissala East Municipal Chief Executive, Karim Nanyua appealed to farmers in the municipality not to panic as his office is working to get enough of the spraying chemicals to address the invasion.