The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has advanced in its research to help bring under control the invasion of farms by Fall Armyworms across the country.
The manager at the Radiation Entomology and Pest Management Centre (REPMC) of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute (BNARI) of GAEC, Dr. Michael Osae said, GEAC with its expertise in research would not remain silent on the fall armyworm menace. He said his outfit has established a fall armyworm colony in one of their insectaries to help carryout research on their basic biology and ecology as well as evaluating several management options.
According to him, the existing fall armyworm management tools being used in other parts of the world may not be effective in Ghana and other West African countries due to their different ecological conditions and weather patterns. This he said, warrants the need to evaluate all such existing management tools and other indigenous tools available to us.
‘Recently GAEC was contracted by a company (name withheld) to conduct bio-efficacy trials on a new product meant to control Fall Armyworms and the outcome was very successful’, he said. He added that the product would be registered and will soon hit the markets.
The Fall Armyworm is an insect commonly known to feed on maize and over 80 other crop species including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.
The insect was first detected in Ghana in 2016 and has wreaked havoc on several farms and posed a major challenge to farmers across the regions.
Mrs. Diana Marri a research scientist responsible for the fall armyworm colony at REPMC, GAEC, said studies have shown that the insect could survive all the Ghanaian whether conditions.
She disclosed that unlike other species, the Fall Armyworms have no special periods to lay eggs. ‘They mate and start laying eggs immediately after they become adults’, she added.
She called on farmers to do well to provide information on the characteristics of the pest on their farms in order to help researchers (in GAEC and other organizations) develop workable solutions under our peculiar conditions.
By: Thykingdom Kudesey / Office of Corporate and Public Affairs (OCPA) – GAEC