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22 July 2017

Government rejects FAO expert’s advice on fighting fall army worm

Expert advice concerning the fight of the fall army worm, from the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been declined by the government.

Director of Flour Production and Protection Division at FAO in Rome, Hans Dreyer had advised the government to deploy immediately biological methods in the fight against the fall army worm infestation instead of spraying the insecticides.

He said that the use of chemicals must be the last alternative to any country that is committed to fighting the outbreak.

Hans Dreyer

“The key recommendation is not to intervene too early with chemical products because early intervention with chemicals destroys your friends, the natural enemies”, he said.

The infestation has so far affected more than 112,000 hectares of farmland across the country.

Government’s response to the infestation was to supply 72,000 litres of liquid chemicals and 4,000 litres of solid chemicals to affected farmers.

Deputy Agriculture Minister William Quaitoo said the government could not consider the use of biological methods to fight Fall Armyworm infestation because it was an emergency case.

He explained as a result, “…we had to plan for this year and next year and once we start we are sure of getting that ₵15.8m to combat the situation for this year and the next.”

William Quaitoo

He added that government has to start preparation in earnest if it is to use the biological method as recommended by Hans Dreyer in early 2019 and 2020.

Mr. Quaitoo said this presents an opportunity for the Crops Research Institute (CRI) and other institutions to prepare in readiness for implementation of the biological methods.

He disclosed the Agic Minister will be meeting his colleagues in the sub region as part of FAO partly-sponsored programme to find an “integrated solution” to the problem.

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