MOFA staff builds capacity to control locust invasion

A three-day workshop to build the capacity of selected field officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), to control locust and grasshopper invasion of farms, has been held at Akyawkrom in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality. They were drawn from 13 districts in the Ashanti and Central Regions including Obuasi, Kwabre, Ejisu-Juaben, Bekwai, Sekyere-South, Ahafo-Ano South, Adansi North and Amansie Central. The rest are Adansi South, Amansie West, Bosome-Freho, Upper Denkyira and Assin North. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) provided the funding under its "Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa (UPoCA) Project" for the workshop. This comes as the nation makes vigorous efforts to achieve food security and cut down food imports. The 40 participants were taken through the formulation and application of "Green Muscle", a bio-pesticide that has proven to be effective for pest control. "Green Muscle" consists of a virulent strain of naturally occurring fungus that infects and kills grasshoppers and locusts and could be used in conservation and environmentally sensitive areas. Ms Angela Osei- Sarfoh, National Coordinator of the UPoCA Project Ghana, said the havoc caused to crops by swarms of locust and grasshoppers over the years, across Africa, had been a major threat to food supply for millions of people on the continent. She said the introduction of "Green Muscle" would provide significant protection to food crops and help to boost crop yield and returns to farmers. Ms Osei-Sarfoh encouraged its use by farmers as it is environmentally friendly and contains no toxic. Mr Cyprian Atcha, an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) trainer, IITA, urged MOFA to stock-pile the pesticide for distribution to farmers.