PFA raises concerns over ICAR reports
IMPHAL| May 18
Peoples for Animals (PFA)-Manipur has expressed its concern at the reports from entomologists of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Manipur in regard to the infestation of Fall Army Worms in Maize cultivations in the Stare.
A release signed by the management trustee of PFA-Manipur, L. Biswajeet Meitei said that the reports from ICAR-Manipur stated that there are “no natural enemies” of the Fall Army worm in the state is of alarming concern. As per Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations, the natural enemies of the Fall Army worm are found abundantly in Manipur, and they include ants, wasps, earwigs, frog and chameleons along with birds which feed on insects. “Besides them, there are also other varieties of bacteria and virus who are natural enemies of the Fall Army worm,” it contended.
“The more important issue about killing the worms with the use of pesticides is the adverse consequences the might arise on the symbiotic relationship between other useful insects and fruit bearing trees or other plants as experts have conveyed,” it said while adding that that the focus on preventing the infestations should be given on promoting growth of the worm’s natural enemies on food producing plants. “The infestation on Maize crops would turn over to rice crops,” it added.
The release also suggested that internationally recommended bio-pesticides containing natural enemies of the Fall Army worm such as the above mentioned bacteria and virus should be distributed to the farmers of the State. It also mentioned the need for distribution of Pheromone Traps to capture the males of the fall army worms while adding that awareness should also be provided to the farmers in tackling the use of traditional methods as recommended by FAO. “Besides the use of pesticides, farmers can also utilise ashes and sand or spreading sugar syrup so that ants will follow and use of pesticides with Neem as a major ingredient,” it said.
“Besides ICAR, the knowledge of the adverse consequences on the use of harmful pesticides that might result in the deaths of insects that have a vital role in trees or plants bearing of fruits should also be made aware to farmers,” it said.
PFA, in its release, also warned that the adverse consequences of the infestation of Fall Army worms will not only to food crops only but also fall to wild animals and birds, and it will be akin to the destruction caused by use of harmful pesticides. “Eradication of fall army worms would be rather impossible, and the only solution is management through integrated control,” it asserted.
“The presence of the fall army worm which is unconditioned to cold weather conditions is due to deforestation in the State,” it continued while adding that awareness on the use of powerful pesticides that has resulted in the decline of other useful insects should also be imparted to farmers.
PFA further appealed farmers of the state to consult experts before using any form of pesticides stating that there is no pesticide still which solely kills the fall army worms without harming other useful insects. “Businessmen should also not sell the pesticides without prescriptions from the Agriculture officer,” it said while also adding an appeal to ICAR-Manipur and Central Agricultural University (CAU) to distribute eco-friendly pesticides.
“The procedures to control the infestation of fall army worms may have serious implications on the ecological environment; so, PFA is going to keep a close eye on the proceedings,” the release concluded.
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