Plant Protection Directorate ‘ready to fight Fall Armyworm’ outbreak

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EYEAFRICA TV: Accra, Ghana:The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) in the Ashanti Region say it is ready to tackle renewed cases of Fall Armyworm and other pests.

 “We are well-staffed and ready to fight Fall Armyworm and other pests and diseases this season,” the Ashanti Regional Director of PPRSD, Godson Tettey said.

The department is also training newly-recruited officers for districts and municipal assemblies to deal with pests and diseases.

 Godson Tettey said efforts to fight Fall Armyworm in previous years was challenging due to inadequate staff – but not anymore.

Fall Armyworm invasion for instance, came as a surprise to many Ghanaian farmers because they were uninformed about the pest across Africa.

It was also aimed at exchanging practical experiences and best practices on how best to manage the pest.

 The outbreak became a national discussion and many people blamed the government for poor response.

The Ministry for Food and Agriculture had to declare a state of emergency to deal with the situation.

When the pest became widespread in parts of Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations had to organise a South-South Meeting in July 2017 in Accra.

The three-day meeting by experts was to deliberate on the outbreak of the Fall Armyworm infestation rapidly spreading

“That is exactly the objective of this Expert meeting: “Learning from the experience of the Americas” where the pest has long been known and farmers have adjusted to manage it,” FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, said.

 One of the key measures agreed at the meeting was to consider the biological control method.

The PPRSD later identified five natural enemies to biologically control the infestation of the Fall Armyworm in the country.

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