22.05.2005 General News

Ghana Sitting On A Ticking Time Bomb

By Evans Mends
Ghana Sitting On A Ticking Time Bomb
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– Massive Locust Infestation Heading Towards Ghana The entire nation is sitting on a potential economic and social time bomb as one of the most devastating locust infestations in recent memory spreads rapidly south towards Ghana. The locust situation in West Africa is now described as "extremely critical" as the first desert locust swarms have moved from their spring breeding areas in North-West Africa to several Sahelian countries, specifically Mauritania, Senegal and Mali, noted a recent United Nations report. The dreaded locust swarms have recently been spotted in neighboring Burkina Faso. The time for Ghanaian government officials to act is now! Over the past two years, experts from the Food and Agricultural Organization have been warning governments across West Africa to start massive spraying exercises before the locust eggs hatch and destroy entire food crops across the sub-region. Many of our African neighbors have paid heed to the dire warnings by investing heavily in chemicals, equipment and manpower to combat the dreaded locusts that have been described as “the eighth plague.” What has Ghana done so far? Unfortunately, nothing! Global satellite tracking systems offer proof that it is not a matter of whether the locusts will arrive in Ghana; rather, it is a matter of when they will arrive. Why should any of us care about a potential locust infestation in Ghana? The UN has warned that the current locust invasion in the Sahel region of Africa bordering the Sahara is potentially worse than the last plague of 1987-89, with some experts warning of famine and death in rural areas. With Ghana's bread basket located in the northern territories, and the locust swarms headed there, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Ghana's economy could be wiped out if nothing is done to control the pending locust infestation. We can't afford to adopt a wait and see attitude when we already know the swarms have already “left the train station” and are rapidly approaching Ghana.

I urge Ghana government officials to pay attention to the warnings from the experts and to do something now before it is too late. It will be morally wrong for the government to wait until it is too late and then look for scapegoats to blame for this disaster. What are we waiting for? We need to invest in effective chemicals, spraying equipment, manpower and public education. Ghana, the time to act is now!

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