Insects identified by officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) as Hemophilus Catori have invaded and destroyed some hectares of coconut plantations at Apolonu, a farming community near Half-Assini, in the Western Region.
The Jomoro District Director, MOFA, Mr Kenneth Addai Boadu made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Half-Assini.
This was after leading a team of National Disaster Management Organisation and agriculture officials from Half Assini assessed the extent of damage caused to the affected plantations.
He said the insects discovered at the area which is on the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border about two weeks ago have destroyed four hectares.
Mr Boadu said the insects cause fresh fruits to drop prematurely, adding that this affects its yields and threatens the local economy.
He said coconut is the lifeblood of the people in Nzema Area, and if the situation is not brought under control most farmers in the area would eventually lose their source of livelihoods, he said.
He said officials from the Regional Coconut Research Institute of the Crop Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute in Sekondi who visited the scene, said the insects are migrating and would leave the area shortly, but this has not been the case.
Mr Boadu said the situation requires spraying and therefore appealed to the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Department, headquarters in Accra, for “Swing Fog” and chemicals to spray the affected farms before the situation gets out of hand.
Mr Boadu said the situation needs to be addressed before the staff go on Christmas holidays.
He said provisional estimates for the work would be GH₡1,000.00, and the Department cannot afford and therefore appealed to the authorities and well-wishers for assistance to remedy the situation.