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USAID-Advance introduces Plant doctors to help farmers fight pest


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID-Advance) project have trained 12 community volunteers in their operational areas in the northern region to augment the Agric Extension Agents deficit of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

The volunteers known as ’Plant Doctors’ according to the USAID-Advance are expected to work with the beneficiary districts Agriculture Extension Agents (AEA).

The plant doctors will identify plant diseases in sample plants sent to the plant clinic and recommend control measures.

This will enable MOFA to assess whether   its extension system are really promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Farmer whose crops are affected by diseases have also been advised to uproot the affected crops and assembled them at the”plant clinic” which is friendly atmosphere for farmers for diagnoses and treatment.

Farmers will also relay identified or suspected pest attack crops to the plant doctor who will then relay the information to AEA and a recognized agro chemical manufacture or distributor for solution.

Senior Agronomist with USAID-Advance, Mr Isaac Conduah told farmers at Kuruguvuhiyayili in the Tolon district during that the plant doctor initiative was to help farmers fight against all pest disturbing crops.

Mr Conduah told Zaa News the plant doctors will advise farmers free of charge on practical ways to improve the health of the crop or prevent the problem from appearing in the next farming season.

Mr Condua entreated farmers to make good use of the volunteers.

On the Fall Army Worms, the agronomist pleaded with the farmers not to fight the worms with chemicals in the afternoon.

The appropriate time he reminded the farmers was either 4pm or 5am.

At an infested army worm farm in Kuruguvuhiyayili, Mr Conduah explained to the farmers to pay attention to any tiny lines created by pupa, their eggs and the critical stage of the worms where the adult moth lays eggs on the maize leafs.

A call center he said has been set up at the USAID-Advance office in Tamale for farmers to channel their problems through. A data of the problems will then collated for solution.  

Northern Zonal manager of ADAMA, an Agro chemical manufactory and Distribution Company Mr Jerry Soyal advised farmers to use Ema star chemical which he said is more effective in controlling the army worms and any other pest.

Mr Jerry advised farmers to always tackle pest at the early stages because it is easy to defeat them when the crops are not matured.

The Tolon district agriculture extension agent, Atchulo Abukari told the farmers that because of the dangerous nature of the army worms, MOFA is trying to develop trapping system to prevent moth from flying and laying their eggs on the crops.

He explained that the worms in the dry season goes into the soil and manifest during raining season to destroy crops and therefore the need for farmers to adhere to experts views on the best way of controlling the worms, especially spraying chemicals.


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