Lead farmers equipped to combat fall armyworms in Nabdam

The invasion of Fall Armyworms in the Nabdam District and other parts of the country continues to worsen the plight of farmers.

The worms have in recent years destroyed crops such as maize, millet, and other varieties of crops, which is affecting food production and economic returns to farmers.

In 2023, over 100 hectares of maize farms in the Nabdam District were infested with armyworms, according to the District Department of Agriculture.

It is against this background that the Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR), an environmental-friendly non-governmental organisation, has organised a sensitisation workshop on the fall armyworms to lead farmers in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.

The lead farmers, comprising 10 men and 10 women, were drawn from the Kparaboug and Dasang communities of the district.

The sensitisation campaign aimed at promoting farmer and community awareness on the threat of fall armyworms, creating awareness on their life cycle, their spread, damage, and identification, w
hile increasing farmers awareness on early detection, reporting, and management of the armyworms with support from Awaken Trees Foundation, Austria.

The lead farmers were part of farmers trained on the concepts of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) to restore degraded lands through natural regeneration and improve agriculture.

Mr Sumaila S. Saaka, the Executive Director of FONAR, indicated that the impact of the fall armyworms on farmers had been devastating, and as an organisation working to improve livelihoods of farmers, it was important that their capacities were equipped to help mitigate the effect of the armyworms on their crops.

He emphasised that ‘one of the best ways of controlling the fall armyworms was to create awareness among the farmers and communities to detect it early, and once they are able to detect it, they can take local-level preventive measures to mitigate its effect, and where it is beyond their control, they report to higher authorities.’

He stressed that it was difficult
to fully control the armyworms due to their ability to develop resistance to insecticides, and farmers must therefore prioritise early detection and correct identification as the key elements of controlling insect pests.

Mr Moses Norin, a participant who doubled as the district’s second-best farmer in the 2023 season, said the training had well prepared him to lessen the impact of the armyworms on his farm and was committed to educating others.

‘Last year, for instance, some of us lost almost a quarter of our produce because we had limited knowledge on how to manage the pest, but now we are better positioned to combat the pest,’ he said.

Madam Mwo-hiba Bugre, a participant, said, ‘Not only are we trained, but we have also been given tools to help us educate our members about what we have learned, and that is very laudable, and we are very grateful to FONAR and its partners.’

Since the invasion of the fall armyworm in Yilo Krobo District of the Eastern Region in 2016, the invasive pest had now geographical
ly spread to all regions of the country, and Ghana is said to be losing close to 200 million USD annually due to the destruction they are causing for farm produce.

Source: Ghana News Agency