Liberia: FAO Trains Agriculture Workers to Fight ‘Armyworms’ in Bong County
Suakoko, Bong County – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun a three-day Farmers’ Field School training for 20 extension officers and farmers on the management and prevention of pests or “Fall Armyworms FAW” at the Central Agriculture Research Institute CARI compound in Suakoko, Bong County.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
The workshop, according to FAO’s Agronomist and focal person, Jobson Momo, is intended to introduce the Farmers Field School into the Fall Armyworms surveillance that farmers have been keeping surveillance on.
The trainings, Momo added, are also meant to improve the capacity of facilitators on integrated management of FAW in maize production through the development of adapted programs, promotion and dissemination of the pest control and management guides for food and nutrition facilitators.
Momo said the trainings are also aimed at refreshing extension officers and farmer’s field school facilitators on FFS approach in relation to integrated pest management.
“The pests (Armyworms) in the country have been devastating our farmers’ crops, we have come to build the capacities of Extension Officers, and equip them in the fight against the Fall Armyworms from destroying farmers’ crops,” Mr. Momo said.
“The three-day training is meant to train the Extension Officers on how to identify eggs of the Fall Armyworms, and know the damages they cause for farmers; and how to prevent them from spreading further to other farmers across the county.”
Continuing, he added: “At that time, people did not know what type of pests were there in the county, but called the eggs by different names until FAO conducted a study; and it was established that the pests were ‘Fall Armyworms’ that destroyed crops indiscriminately.”
The 20 participants, according to Momo, were selected from areas that have reportedly been highly affected by the invasion of Fall Armyworms.
Some of the participants expressed happiness over the conduct of the training by FAO through the Ministry of Agriculture.
George Matiah and Lorpu Gizzie of Nimba and Margibi Counties both focal persons for FAW in Nimba and Margibi Counties lauded FAO for the training and promised to share their knowledge with other farmers in their respective counties.
“We were brought here during an outbreak and we were trained by FAO and given a trap to take home to see if Fall Armyworms exist. My trap tracked down over 200 different species of pests,” said Matiah.