The deputy minister of Agriculture in charge of Perennial Crops and Planting for Food, William Quaittoo, has stated that farmers affected by the invasion of the fall armyworms will not be compensated since there is no allocation for them.
Close to 4,000 hectares of farmlands have been destroyed nationwide by the fall armyworms, a new pest in Africa that attacks maize and also feeds on a range of other crops, including millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, sugar cane and vegetables.
Farmers who have had their farmlands ravaged by the worms are calling on government to help them fight the invasion, some are also demanding compensation from government.
But in an interview with Starr FM’s Ibrahim Alhassan, the Akim Oda Member of Parliament said they cannot compensate farmers given government’s scant resources.
“There is no compensation component in the budget, infact the budget we did, did not make provision for protective clothing…but we did some adjustments and took some protective clothing from some of the suppliers because chemicals can be dangerous.”
Meanwhile, the government has conceded that financial constraint is affecting the fight against the worm invasion across the country.
The Peasant Farmers Association has questioned government’s commitment to fighting the menace given shortage of pesticides in some affected areas.
But Quaittoo said pesticides have been sent to all the affected regions to fight the invasion.
“We have sent pesticides to all the regions… now we have about eight chemicals, some organic and some inorganic…so in each of the regions we have sent two or three pesticides.”
The worms are mainly found feeding on young maize plants and leaf damage is usually characterised by ragged feeding and moist sawdust-like frass near the funnel and upper leaves.
The worms tend to enter through the side of the ear and feed on developing kernels in contrast to stem borer caterpillars that normally enter the ear from the top or the bottom.