It is an undeniable fact that agriculture is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy. The sector employs majority of the working population, and contributes substantially to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. Apart from this, it is our gallant farmers who work to feed the entire population, the reason why they are recognised by governments annually to encourage them to produce more to feed the country.
Unfortunately, the fall armyworms that have invaded the country for some time now are trying to thwart the efforts of the farmers. Large acres of farms are being destroyed throughout the country as result of their invasion. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has done its best by importing the relevant chemicals to help fight the pests, but the battle has still not been won. Experts say the worms can fly, and this is making it very difficult to control their movement and spread in the country.
Though The Chronicle is not an expert when it comes to some of these matters, the paper strongly believes that the method being used in spraying the worms is an antiquated one and must be reviewed. For example, if Farmer A sprays his or her farm, and B, who shares a common border with him fails to do same, the worms would keep on spreading. The development means that large acreage of farms must be sprayed at the same time to prevent the worms from spreading.
Regrettably, this is not what the farmers are doing – the spraying is being done on individual basis, thus, making is very difficult to fight the worms. It is based on this that The Chronicle welcomes the intervention by a private company, RMG Ghana Limited, which is providing drones to help the farmers spray their farms.
According to a story we have carried in our centre pages today, the spraying exercise, Code-named ‘Kick Fall Armyworm Out’, is currently going on in maize-growing districts of the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, and Eastern regions.
Mr Martin Nartey, Business Development Manager of RMG Ghana Limited, told the media during a spraying demonstration exercise at Sakai in the Sissala East Municipality last Friday, that the company – as an agro-related entity – was concerned about the food security challenge posed by the menace of fall armyworms in the country. He said the free spraying exercise would cover, at least, 2,500 hectares of farms in the six regions, with each region guaranteed some 250 hectares of free spraying.
To us, using drones to spray the farms is the best method to kill the worms, and that is why we commend the company for the innovation. But, as a business entity, RMG Ghana Limited is only using the free spraying to market its products. The company, certainly, cannot continue with the exercise forever without the intervention of the government.
The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the Agric Ministry to support the farmers hire the drones to spray their farms to ensure all-year food production.
It is an undisputable fact that no peasant farmer can afford to hire a drone to spray his farm – he certainly needs the government’s intervention – because, at the end of the day, the food produced is what is used to feed nation.
The armyworm invasion is a serious threat to our food security – the reason why we must not joke with the fight in eradicating them from the country.
We hope that government will listen to us and move in quickly to avert any future disaster as a result of the invasion.