BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR
The Federal Government has inaugurated the National Task Force on Fall Army worm pest as part of measures to rid the country of the pest which causes incalculable damage and losses to maize farmers.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who inaugurated the Task Force on behalf of the Federal Government in Abuja, explained that the setting up of the Task Force has become necessary to bring about the involvement of all stakeholders in the agriculture sector in the fight against Fall Army worm in the country.
Ogbeh also explained that the Fall Army Worm(FAW) Emergency Project was set up at the emergence of the pest to curtail its spread, adding that the Project would wind up soon.
To forestall the escalation of the destructive pest on maize, he said it has become imperative for the constitution of the task force to ensure that Nigeria is rid of fall worm pest.
He noted that the newly inaugurated National Task Force on FAW made of members drawn from the public and private sectors would among other things, advise government on FAW infestation, engage partners, communicate with stakeholders on the menace of FAW as well as promote cooperation, coordination, consistency and synergies across the country on FAW.
The minister who commended the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for their technical assistance in controlling and managing the pest in the country, also sought for more assistance in the area of research.
On the side-line of the inauguration of the Task Force on FAW was the launch of Goldmax Total Crop Solution Insecticide developed by a scientist, Professor Aaron Baba, by the Minister Of Agriculture and Rural Development who announced that the agro product which is organic and proudly ‘Made in Nigeria’ has been approved by the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) .
He further explained that a lot of tests and trials have been conducted on the product by research institutes and many farmers including him have good stories to tell about its efficacy.
Ogbeh stated that his ministry would procure some of the products for supply to Nigerian Farmers at subsidised rate as well as facilitate its sales to other African countries while government would continue to give necessary support in the fight against Fall Army Worm in the country.
The Country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organization, Nigeria (FAO), Mr. Suffyan Koroma, commended Federal Government’s efforts in setting up the National Taskforce and noted that it would serve as a strategic national approach to the control and management of FAW infestation.
He therefore implored members of the task force to immediately swing into action to give the required support to farmers in the next cropping season.
In his contribution, The Country Director, Synergos, Mr. Adewale Ajadi said that his organisation was happy to support an organic solution against the FAW as this initiative has already “set a standard on how to solve our problems in Nigeria”.
In his technical presentation, the inventor of Gold Max Total Crop Solution Insecticide, Professor Aaron Baba said the product which is effective against over one hundred insects including Tuta absoluta, grasshopper, beans pest among others is also environmental and users friendly and promised that latest available technology would be used to protect and maintain the integrity of the product.