NSS Appeals for MoOFA’s Intervention to Protect Farms against Army Worm

Mr Moses Amaku Kudjo (3rd right), Assistant Project Director of National Service Agricultural Project, demonstrating how to apply the fertiliser. Looking on is Mr Yussif Mustafa (4th left), the Executive Director of the NSS Mr Moses Amaku Kudjo (3rd right), Assistant Project Director of National Service Agricultural Project, demonstrating how to apply the fertiliser. Looking on is Mr Yussif Mustafa (4th left), the Executive Director of the NSS.

The Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Mr Yussif Mustapha, has sent a plea to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to support the scheme to control army worm attacks on its maize farms across the country.

He said the army worm invasion of its 350-acre maize farm at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region was a major threat to a strategy the scheme had taken to revive all its defunct agriculture projects in line with the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy.

“We had good seeds planted on very fertile land and with the onset of the rains, we were expecting a bumper harvest. However, the attacks by army worms has been a huge threat to our forecast. We are, therefore, calling on the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders to help curb the menace posed by the army worms. The National Service Scheme has spent more than GH¢100,000 in the fight against the worms and this is outside our budget. We have done initial spraying of the farm but the worms stubbornly keep resurfacing,” Mr Mustapha lamented.

Meeting

Mr Mustapha made the appeal in a meeting with journalists at the NSS’s maize farm at Dawhenya yesterday. Some staff members and service persons were seen applying fertiliser and pesticides to the maize plants.

Maize plants, which are almost at the stage of tussling, have been severely destroyed by the army worms.

The worms are found mainly in the nodes of the maize plants from where they begin to eat up the plant.

The Dawhenya farm project covers a land size of 1,000 acres, out of which 350 acres have been used for maize cultivation.

Attacks

In recent times, army worms have launched devastating attacks on maize farms across the country, leading to many farms being destroyed.

The government is undertaking mass spraying of the affected farms as a measure to contain the marauding worms that are spreading fast.

At a meeting held in Accra last Monday, technocrats in the agriculture sector from the West African sub-region called for collaboration and harmonisation of efforts in addressing the problem.

Prospects

Mr Mustapha also observed that if the worms were controlled, the massive investment the NSS had made in its maize farms nationwide would contribute to enhancing food security in the country.

“We are taking advantage of the President’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy to revive the agriculture component of the NSS. Our major challenge though is the army worm attack, which needs to be addressed,” the coordinator said.

According to him, managers of the NSS are in touch with some collaborative agencies to move produce from its farms to market centres.

Entrepreneurship

The director further disclosed that scheme managers were also preparing to unveil an entrepreneurial network system that would equip service persons with entrepreneurial skills.

“We want to see a regime where people who complete their national service would become well-equipped to start their own businesses rather than going round looking for jobs,” he said.

Touching on transparency with regard to how internally generated funds are managed, Mr Mustapha said prudent control and monitoring mechanisms were in place to check corruption and mismanagement of such funds.

 

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