The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has advised farmers to monitor their fields frequently for early detection of Fall Army worm (FAW) infestation.

The Plant Protection & Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) Secretariat of the MoFA, which issued the alert, explained that early detection was necessary to fast-track the implementation of the necessary management options at the vulnerable stages of the larvae.

Recently, the Ministry said its surveillance reports indicate pockets of FAW infestation on maize planted in low land and irrigated fields in some districts in the Ahafo, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra and Western regions.

The directorate acknowledged that FAW was now an endemic pest in the country and would continue to pose a serious threat to food security and livelihood of thousands of smallholder maize farmers.

It, therefore, advised farmers and the general public to report any FAW infestations to the nearest Department of Agriculture office, agricultural extension agents or the head office of the directorate at Pokuase, Accra.

The farmers and the public are to provide the location, including the district/community, date and time of observation and the estimated area infested, the directorate advised.

The secretariat appealed to TV stations, FM radio stations and community information centres to create awareness of the presence of FAW and its threat to food security and the livelihood of smallholder farmers in maize-producing communities in the country as part of their corporate responsibility.

Fall armyworms are dangerous trans-boundary insects with a high potential to spread rapidly due to their natural distribution capacity and opportunities presented by international trade.

They earned their common name by eating all plant matter they encounter in their wide dispersals, like a large army.

Research has shown that the FAW feed on more than 80 plant species, including maize, sorghum, soybean, rice and vegetable crops.

The pests are capable of reproducing and spreading quickly, given the right environmental conditions.
It was first reported in Africa in 2016, where it is still causing significant damage to maize crops and has great potential for further spread and economic damage.

It has since spread to 28 countries in Africa, including Ghana, where more than 50,000 hectares of farms have been attacked.

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