National Workshop on management of FAW held
IMPHAL | May 17 : Taking serious concern on the infestation of Fall Armyworm in the state, a national workshop on,” management of Fall Army Worm in the scientific production of maize” was organised at ICAR Complex, Lamphelpat today.
Officials during the workshop noted that FAW can infest on 80 other crops besides maize. They suggested finding out the rate of natural enemies attacking FAW, taking feedback from infested areas, developing a feasible method to control and minimize the infestation, seed treatment before plantation and handpicking the pest for farmers cultivating maize in small scale to avoid future effect of pesticides.
Director, directorate of Agriculture, Laltanpuii Vanchong while addressing the gathering said, though 36-member field teams were scattered in different parts of the state, the number has been increased to 70 for effective work and findings.
She said that the joint action team had visited 249 villages where 203 villages had been infested covering an area of 301 hectares. A helpline number for the whole state and two for each district has been started as the maize cultivation is not in a compact area, she highlighted.
Pointing out that some parts of hill districts are hard to reach as it is not in motorable condition and problems of staff constraint, she suggested for a new strategy to tackle the FAW and further appealed to the scientists to consult the agriculture department too.
For farmers cultivating maize in small scale, handpicking the pest is the best method, as pesticides may control the infestation now but the after effect is unpredictable she added.
Registrar of Central Agricultural University, Imphal, professor K. Mamocha Singh in his speech suggested for a laboratory where natural enemy of FAW can be multiplied to tackle the infestation. Though push and pull method is successful in Africa, research is essential to find out whether the same is feasible in the state, he added.
Principal scientist and ABD in charge ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research, Hyderabad J. C. Shekhar also said the infestation can be managed effectively with crashing the eggs of the pest and crop scouting, which is to precisely assess pest pressure and crop performance to evaluate economic risk from pest infestations and disease as well as to determine the potential effectiveness of pest and diseases control interventions.
He also said community based management of maize and finding out the presence of pest in early stage is important along with the method of spraying pesticides. Pesticides should now be spread in the whole plant as infestation increase and it may not be able to eradicate but can minimize the infestation, he added.
Speaking as the chief guest of the programme, agricultural commissioner, Sumant Singh expressed concern that FAW can shift from its host plant maize to other crops.
While stating that he had suggested the officials to obtain feedback from infested areas such as Mizoram which had been infested at large and also from the places infested in the state. He further suggested the need of institutionalised joint meeting prior to maize season to take up precautionary measures.
While delivering the keynote address of the programme, senior scientist and NEH coordinator, ICAR-IIMR, Pusa, New Delhi, S.L. Jat informed that 16 states in the country had been reportedly infested. Though FAW infestation is difficult to eradicate, its infestation can be minimized. FAW can create havoc for maximum of 3 years and it can also infest 80 other crops besides maize.
He also said focus should be made on integrated management and lesser use of pesticides besides seed treatment before plantation for protection.
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