He reiterated that the timely intervention by the government led to the defeat of the fall armyworms, which attacked 124,000 hectares, out of one million hectares of maize farms across the country.
The worms were put under control and so they could only destroy 14,000 hectares of farms which were affected.
The Minister made the disclosure after he was asked a question about the fall armyworm invasion by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting on Monday.
The Builsa South MP, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee of parliament, said there are still evidence of the existence of the fall armyworms, and that in his constituency in the Upper East Region, farmers are grappling with the invasion.
The Agriculture Minister said that reports from officers on the field indicate that the invasion of the fall army worm has been brought under total control because of the effective and swift measures by government to control their spread, adding that out of the 124,000 hectares affected by fall armyworms, 110,000 hectares have been redeemed, with 14,000 hectares destroyed by the worms.
He said despite the attack by the fall armyworms, the ‘Planting for Food and Agriculture” policy of the government will ensure bumper harvest at the end of the crop season.
“By our projections, we are expecting bumper harvest this year because of the positive effect of Planting for Food and Jobs,” the minister said, adding that in order to store the surplus food, the Ministry has secured warehouses across the country to store excess food for the future.
The Minister further noted that a small number of farmers who lost their entire farms through the armyworms invasion have been provided with improved seed and fertilizers to cultivate maize again in the coming minor season.
He said to forestall any eventuality the Ministry has provided seven different types of insecticides to help control any further outbreak while farmers have been educated on the symptoms so that they could quickly fight it with the insecticides.
When a member of the Public Accounts Committee and NDC MP for Keta, Richard Qushigah asked the Minister about plans the ministry has to help sustain the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy of the government, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the Ministry has a five-year renewable plan in place, and it is expected that under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, more than 1.5 million farmers would be engaged to enhance food security.
He said cabinet will soon lift the ban on recruitment in the Ministry so that extension officers and other professionals would be recruited to help to achieve the objectives of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs” policy of the government
He said the Akufo-Addo government was determined to improve the agricultural sector.
“Everything is being done in respect of appropriate policies and measures to improve the performance of the sector and create a lot more jobs for the jobless in the country.”