The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with Afri-care Liberia last Wednesday ended a one-day sanitization workshop on the facts about caterpillar infestation for residents of Grand Cape Mount County. About the objective of the programme, Chris Seubert, Africare Liberia Country Representative noted the reported presence of caterpillars believed to be destroying large crops such as cocoa, coffee, rubber and other vegetables, as well as polluting water wells and creeks in January of 2009 in Bong County.
He urged participants to first verify such report or information about the present of caterpillar increase before alarming the situation.
He also admonished participants to apply the knowledge acquired from the seminar by translating the message to their colleagues properly. He noted that a report must be made to the local authorities whenever the presence of such insects is observed in the community.
The Africare Liberia representative warned that unconfirmed information concerning caterpillars and other dangerous insects has the propensity to drive away people from their dwelling places.
Gawula District Commissioner Mambu Sonii expressed gratitude to the Agriculture Ministry and Africare Liberia for the awareness workshop. Commissioner Sonii also said the conduct of the workshop will also help farmers in Grand Cape Mount improve farming and pest control.
Seventy-five participants from Porkpa, Gola Konneh, Tewor Commonwealth and the host Gawula District attended the workshop.
In January last year, swamps of caterpillars appeared in the town of Bellefanai in Zota District, Bong County, invading homes and various sources of drinking water, as well as displacing residents.
The insects spread widely from one town to another in the district, surfacing in Suacoco District and parts of Lofa and Gbarpopulu Counties in northwestern Liberia and destroying various crops, as well as polluting drinking water in the invaded areas.
Photos of the activities of the insects were published in various newspapers, while video pictures were screened on a number of television stations in Monrovia.