The items handed over to MAF District Offices includes 15 XL Honda bikes, 150, face masks, 150 gloves, 150 safety goggles, 150 overalls , 150 range boots, 300 pressure spray, 15 PH-B69- Kit Spodoptera Fruglperda Moth catcher Kit, 90 PH-669-REFSpodoptera Fruglperda Moth Catcher Kit Refill and more.
Fall Armyworm (FAW), is an insect pest that feeds on more than 80 crop species, causing damage to economically important cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and to legumes as well as vegetable crops and cotton. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, with the adult moth able to move over100 km per night. It lays its eggs on plants, from which larvae hatch and begin feeding. High infestations can lead to signiﬁcant yield loss.
District Agriculture Officer for Bo District Ambrose Bindi Kamara heaped praises on the BAFS project for coming to their aid, adding that the scourge has been causing destruction to famer’s farmland in the district.
He said mobility was one of their biggest challenges in reaching farmers if any report of FAW in the district.
Kamara said the only bike in the crops division unit was very old to reach remote communities, noting that with the aid of a digital camera and internet provided by the EU will help drastically to end the scourge.
He appealed to other donor partners to emulate the good work of the EU to farmers in the country, adding that such a donation would help in food security.
Communication and Visibility Officer BAFS project, Isha During said the support was one of the many presentations to the MAF to facilitate activities geared towards the combating of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) invasion of crops in Sierra Leone.
She said the devastation caused by the FAW in many countries around the world including those in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that the EU in Sierra Leone saw it fit to classify it as an emergency and allocated a substantial amount through the BAFS project to combat the scourge.
Madam During said maize is the major crop affected by the FAW, adding that it can attack over 80 species of plants, including our staple food, rice.
She said an assessment done by the crops division and BAFS staff, pointing they were able to see first-hand the damage done in Sierra Leone, and sadly, most of the farmers and traders could not even recognize the damage.
Madam During said the aim of the BAFS project is to ensure food security throughout the country.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony in one of the District Offices, Director of Crops in the MAF Solomon John Kamara commended the EU for supporting the Division for Crops in the fight against FAW in the various districts.
He said the unit in the MAF is very vital as it the one charge in ensuring that farmers are safe in the area of food productivity, adding as quite recently the MAF undertook a study in Brazil on how to tackle the fight against FAW.
The director said the unit was lacking basic equipment in the fight to detect the FAW, noting that the items came in at the right time as some farmers are complaining of the FAW destroying their farm in some part of the country.
He said the FAW has the potential to cause hunger in any district that its invaded, adding that it can feed on any green plants.
“The equipment will help in closely monitoring situation on the ground with farmers he assures”. He assured the EU that the items would be used for the intended purposes.