The deputy minister for Food and Agriculture William Quaitoo has contradicted claims by his boss Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto that the fall army worms have been completely defeated.
According to Mr. Quaitoo, the army worm invasion is “under control” and not defeated as claimed by the Dr. Afriyie Akoto.
“Nobody would say it has been defeated, we would say it is under control. They are two different things, it is under control. Otherwise we are combat ready to fight any farm invaded with army worms, the chemicals are there, the people are there to do the work,” Mr. Quaitoo said in an interview on Starr Today, Friday August 25.
His comments come after Dr. Afriyie-Akoto told Parliament that the army worms which has ravaged over 100, 000 hectares of farms across the country had completely been defeated.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the nation that the fall army worm invasion has been defeated totally. The situation which has been created by some people that the army worm is consuming the planting for food and jobs [program], Mr. Speaker is not correct, it is wrong,” Dr. Afriyie-Akoto told Parliament in July this year.
Mr. Quaitoo has recently come under severe pressure to resign following his description of farmers from the three Northern regions who were demanding compensation for destruction to their farms by the army worms as difficult people to deal with.
The “fall army worm” is a super-hungry caterpillar that eats up crops before it grows into a butter fly.
They look dull yellow to gray in colour with stripes running down the length of the body.
They lay their eggs on seedlings and leaves of plants and within 5 to 10 days, the tinny caterpillars hatch to launch a massive onslaught on food crops.
The worms attack leaves of crops, flowers and even the stalk.
They feed on several crops including -staple food source – maize, cotton, soya bean, potato and the cash crop – cocoa.