‘Research on strength of FAW in rice initiated’
“A team of scientists of the state have started researching the biotype of Fall Armyworm (FAW) presently found in the state in order to find out whether this highly invasive pest also have the strength to infest even rice crops,” said vice-chancellor of Central Agricultural University (CAU), professor Moirangthem Premjit Singh.
He stated this during the one-day training cum awareness programme on “Identification, symptomology and management on FAW on maize in Manipur” held at auditorium hall of CAU, Iroisemba today.
The programme was jointly organised by All India Coordinated Research Project on Maize under directorate of Research, CAU and ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research.
In his speech as chief guest of the function, Premjit stated that farmers should not necessarily panic over the issue of foreign pest infestation in maize crops. The present government in association with all line departments is taking full responsibility to control this pest from further infestation, he pointed out.
He continued that FAW family has various biotype and ability to attack around 80 crops. Pondering on this, people should not create any panic of attacking in rice crop. As a precautionary measure, research has already started in the laboratory. On the basis of two days experiment, researchers have found that the biotype found in the state does not have strength to attack rice crops.
“We cannot conclude research work based on this two days experiment as the studies might be immature. But we expect that this pest will not attack paddy,” he added.
He stated that the prevailing issue of foreign pest infestation in maize is related with climate change. Manipur and Mizoram are the states in North-East that is mainly affected by this pest and these states have faced scanty rainfall.
He suggested that farmers adopt three different ways to control the pest such as immediate, mid-term and long term strategy. Using insecticides in the farmland is the immediate means to control, but is harmful to health and environment.
One of the best ways of mid-term strategy is to adopt inter-cropping in next year maize cultivation. The chances of attacking maize in the next plantation by FAW are very high as it has already reached the state. Therefore, farmers should plant some other crops in between maize crops. This is effectively practiced in Horticulture College, Pasighat, he added.
On long term strategy, he explained that there might be predators that can destroy FAW. Farmers should inform immediately to CAU or ICAR if they find any kind of parasite or predator that can finish up the pest. So that it can be cultured and spread in affected areas.
Premjit maintained that it is high time to spread awareness about climate resilient agricultural practices instead of just focusing in conventional ways of agricultural practices. He also appealed to farmers and people of the state to love and respect environment as this issue is a man-made damage done to nature.
As a part of the programme, four different types of bio-pesticides were distributed to farmers from nine districts of the state. During the technical session, experts lectured on usage of bio-pesticides that they have been distributed in the affected farmland.
Many scientists, professors of the university and around 150 farmers attended the programme.
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