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We’ve Not Approved The Use Of Washing Detergents For Armyworm Fight - Agric Ministry
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Press Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, says the Ministry has not approved the use of washing detergents or self-made concoctions by farmers in to fight the rampaging fall army worms.

Issah Alhassan was reacting to reports farmers have resorted to mixing detergents and pepper to spray farms taken over by the fall army worms. The worms have attacked over 112,000 hectares of farm lands devouring completely over 14,000 farms.

At least four million farmers have been affected by the attack and growing even more weary each passing day.

The Ministry has distributed some chemicals to farmers across the country as a first measure to solving the canker.

However, some farmers who spoke to Rainbow Radio some few weeks ago said, the chemicals distributed by the Ministry was ineffective and so, they resulted to the use of different detergents to fight the worms.

But speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Issah Alhassan said the Ministry has not approved the use of the concoctions by the farmers.

He gave a strong assurance that the situation has been brought under control and the impact has not been severe as reported by some media houses. He said for the past 50 years farmers have been using detergents but we [Agric Ministry] did not approve the use of the detergents.

Some of the farmers acted out of desperation but we have brought it under control.''

He also disputed allegations that the Ministry has spent GH 20M on wrong chemicals. A statement issued by the Ministry and signed by Issah Alhassan said: ‘’For the information of the good people of Ghana, the amount earmarked by Government to fight the invasion of the armyworms is less than the one being quoted by the MP The Finance Ministry released an amount of GH 16M out of which GH 15,815m was released to the ministry.

Part of this amount was to be used for the procurement of approved chemicals, sensitization and awareness creation, as well as procurement of logistics for the gang spraying team put in place by the National Taskforce and the Committee set up to oversee the fight against the pests.’’ The statement added: ‘’It will interest everyone to know that these chemicals were approved after exhaustive consultations with sister countries, the CSIR, EPA and the PPRSD under the Ministry before orders were made for their purchase. MOFA will like to state emphatically that reports from across the length and breadth of the country indicate massive progress in the fight against the armyworms.

It must be pointed out that the progress being in the fight against these 'alien' pests cannot be limited to one, two or three districts but must rather be seen from a general perspective.

MOFA is very hopeful that at the end of the day the country will witness bumper harvests in all the major crops including maize, sorghum, soyabean and rice. Plans are also far advanced to support farmers whose farms were devastated by the armyworms. In order to prevent future occurrence, MOFA has signed an agreement with the University of Ghana to train personnel of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Division of MOFA.’’

‘’This partnership with the academia, we hope, will help bolster the emergency response ability of the ministry in fighting all forms of diseases that affect crops and animals in the country. Meanwhile, MOFA will like to assure farmers that the National Surveillance and Monitoring Taskforce made up of personnel from NADMO, CSIR, FAO and PPRSD will continue to be on the ground to response to distress calls of farmers as we deal with pockets of reports of infection,’’ the statement concluded.
Source: rainbowradioonline.com

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