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6 October 2011 | Agriculture

Pests and diseases threaten income of local farmers

Kofi Adu Domfeh

Viral and pest infections on crops are threatening food production and livelihood of farmers in parts of the Ashanti and Bono Ahafo regions.

Job and crop losses are being recorded because the farmers are reported to lack knowledge on pest control mechanisms and therefore resort to diverse chemicals for protection.

Bright Opoku Asante, who works with the Grains Development Board at Ejura in the Ashanti region, says farmer at Agogo, Akomadan and Tuobodom are recording reduction in crop yield as result of viral and fungi diseases.

“The farmers some of them secure loans to carry out the farming projects. That is the base occupation for these people and if they embark on it massively during the season and at long last all yield loses, the farmer is at negative side, it affects everything”, observed Mr. Asante.

He tells Luv Fm the deployment of specialists in agro-chemical application is critical to supporting the farmers deal with the disease control.

The Papaya and Mango Producers and Exporters Association is also worried at the damage inflicted by Fruit Flies, which it says causes economic harm to farmers and the national economy.

“We're losing a source of employment because if it is not attractive – if these flies will come and destroy our crops – people will not come and crop [and] we're going to spend so much on quarantine”, stated Eric Omantam, a member of the Association.

The pest, which feeds on over 400 fruits and vegetables, has caused European importers banning produce from Ghana.

Mr. Omantam has observed the need for farmers to practice good farm hygiene and invest in control products.

He however tells Luv Fm a comprehensive integrated pest management program for the West African sub-region is critical to reduce the impact on import-export revenue.

“The National Fruits Fly Control Program has began some work but I bet to say that as a farmer, not much is being done and that is why we're calling that some help should come from somewhere so that this effort is widened.

“The fly is an invading fly. It doesn't need a passport to go to Cote d'Ivoire, it goes on its own. So there must be a concerted effort within the sub-region, everywhere within the sub-region that we're producing these fruits and vegetables, we need to team up to organize a control program”, said Mr. Omantam.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/Luv Fm/Ghana