The country losses 30 per cent of its annual crop yields to pests and disease infestation, the Director of the Plant Protection Regulatory Services (PPRSD), Mrs Milly Kyofa-Boamah, has stated.
The situation, she said, could be attributed to limited access to plant health services owing to inadequate extension officers.
Currently, there is one extension officer to 1,500 farmers in the country, which is below the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) standard of one extension officer to 500 farmers.
Mrs Kyofa- Boamah made this known at a press briefing on an initiative to reduce crop losses and increase food security in Accra on Thursday.
Known as “Plant Wise”, the programme seeks to mitigate the effects of pest and diseases on crop yields.
The project, which is being executed by the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), a non— profit organisation, started in 2012 and is expected to end in 2020.
As part of the programme, 66 plant clinics have been established in 39 districts in five regions.
The clinics provide farmers with information on how to manage crop pests, diseases and other plant health problems.
Mrs Kyofa-Boamah said the impact of pests and diseases on crop production was a threat to the country’s food security, adding that it led to the damage of crops, and lowering of yields and quality, which adversely affected incomes of farmers and nutrients for consumers.
The Regional Coordinator of CABI West Africa, Dr Victor Attuquaye Clottey, said the programme was not only meant to control pests and diseases but also to train farmers on the best way to produce and harvest their crops to improve their yields.