Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Fall army worms back again


Image result for Fall army worms 

Adnan Adams Mohammed

The disasterous fall armyworms which invaded most farms last year across Ghana and destroyed millions of cedis worth of agricultural produce and crops have emerged again according to latest reports from farmers in the various regions.

This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture which however assured that, steps are been taken to control it.
It is estimated that, last year the country lost about US$64 million through the fall armyworm infestation.

The pests, first detected in the country some 15 months ago, have since attacked more than 20,000 hectares of farmland, nationwide.

Research scientists attached to the Biotechnology Research Programme (BRP) of the Crop Research Institute (CRI), have prescribed a solution  to end the havoc the armyworms have been wreaking on farms.

They are urging the development and use of genetically-modified (GM) maize to stop the destruction the pests are causing.

Professor Mrs. Marian Quain, Leader of the BRP, said studies had shown that genetically-modified maize with in-built disease-resistant genes had the potential to withstand the harmful effects of the pests.

Addressing a seminar jointly organized by the CRI and National Bio-safety Authority (NBA) at Fumesua in the Ejisu Municipality, she noted that the conventional agricultural system had become fraught with varied challenges.

This had been due to the changing climatic conditions, overpopulation, excessive use of pesticides and insecticides.

Prof Mrs. Quain asked that the nation facilitated the processes for the acceptance of GM-related technology in plant breeding and crop production to enhance food security, given the emerging threats to agricultural productivity.

The programme brought together agricultural researchers, extension officers, plant breeders, seed growers, environmentalists, health experts and the media.

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