No money to compensate Fall Army Worms victims — Agric Minister says
Parliament’s Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs has urged the government to come up with a compensation package for farmers whose farms have been destroyed by the Fall Army Worms.
It said considering the fact that some of the farmers had gone for loans to do the planting, the proposed compensation would help them to service part of their loans and have some capital to replant.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei, and the Ranking Member of the committee, Mr Eric Opoku, made the appeal in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic at Kintampo after interacting with farmers in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions last Friday.
Members of the committee took a trip to the two regions to assess the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs Programme’ and the management of the Fall Army Worm invasion.
Mr Asafu-Adjei contended that the compensation package should be given to only large-scale farmers in view of their huge losses.
The call for the compensation followed requests by some farmers for compensation following the destruction of their farms by the Fall Army Worms.
The worms, which were detected in the country in September last year, attack mainly maize.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, told Parliament recently that the Fall Army Worms had been defeated, but the claim was disputed by some farmer groups.
During the interaction, the farmers expressed worry about the increasing devastation of their farms by the worms and how that had affected their yields.
They blamed the late arrival of chemicals and the insufficiency of the chemicals for the spraying of farms as the main causes.
Compensation for all
For Mr Opoku, his proposal was for both large-scale and small-scale farmers to be compensated for the destruction of their crops.
He said the financial compensation was important to support and encourage the farmers to go back into farming.
Mr Opoku said any failure by the government to give compensation to the farmers would cripple the farmers as they would be saddled with debts to their banks, input suppliers and supporting staff.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Food and Agriculture explained that the government did not budget for any compensation.
“So where are we going to find the money for the payment?’ Dr Akoto questioned when the Daily Graphic reached him for his reaction.