By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan (Bong County)
Some local farmers in Zota District, Bong County, have alarmed over the outbreak of what seems to be an army-worm that is on the rampage damaging crops in the area.
Our Reporter who visited the district recently said, about eleven towns and other surrounding villages are seriously being affected by the crops killer worms.
Garden egg, pepper, cocoa and cabbage among others are crops mostly being eaten by the strange worms.
The situation has left farmers with little or no hope of benefiting from their labors as they are calling on national government through the Ministries of Agriculture to intervene.
“We are really facing problem with these worms, they are destroying our farms on a daily basis and we don’t even know what to do to kill them because when we try to apply method to make them leave, we will see them in abundance the next day,” Wornukai General Town Chief, Peter Kuamue, told journalists.
Mr. Kuamue said, they started experiencing the presence of the worms that appear like caterpillars since the beginning of this month and started in another town called Kpaimue, north of Zota District.
He said the invasion began in Kpaimue before spreading into nearby towns and villages in the area.
“For me as a farmer, I have been seeing these caterpillars but they have never been on this kind of large scale and eating crops,” he adds.
An experienced farmer in Denyea Town, Jerry F. Mulbah said, as the District faces the challenges of the strange worms that are threatening the livelihoods of over 90 percent of the population in the area that depend on agriculture, there is a crucial need to enhance capacity at the District and County levels to prevent, detect and respond rapidly to any new worms and diseases threat.
He told Reporter that it is not time to sit in the backseat but for all citizens to join hands with local authorities and seek government’s immediate respond.
Mary Kollie, a mother of four children told journalists that if the situation continues she will be left with nothing to sell and buy food for her children; adding that the strange worms started eating her crops before spreading to other parts of the area.
“So the only thing I want is for the government to help us fight these worms because if it continues we will be left with nothing at the end of the farming season,” she concludes.
Some of the towns being affected are, Tinsue, Jorkai Kpamue, Flomota, Narwai, Prulukpae among others.
There has not been comment from authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture concerning the situation but an insider has told Newsman that the Ministry will shortly send some researchers from the Central Agricultural Research Institute to find out the cause of the outbreak.
This is not the first of its kind for worm’s outbreak in Zota District, Bong County, in 2009, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, declared a State of Emergency as a result of an army worm outbreak that started in the same District and later spread to other parts of the Country.
Our Bong County Correspondent says since news of the strange worms broke up, there have been hikes in the prices of local commodities especially garden egg, cabbage and pepper, a situation that has led many citizens to blame the caterpillars’ invasion.