Over 230 villages in State report infestation by fall armyworm

Over 230 villages in State report infestation by fall armyworm
Crops damaged by fall armyworm (R) table showing districts affected by FAW
KOHIMA, MAY 7 (NPN): | Publish Date: 5/7/2021 1:01:14 PM IST

 K.V. Nurumi

Nagaland has reported huge infestation of Fall Armyworm (FAW) with an area of 2848 hectares affected by the worm spread across 231 villages and locations since the second week of April during this Kharif period. 

Alarmed over this phenomenon, the state agriculture department has started engaging its field functionaries and extension personnel to combat the menace of FAW infestations. The department is also taking steps to ease the hardship of the farmers facing drought-like conditions due to shortage of rainfall.

According to the agri department, the infested crop was in mild whorl stage and would be responsive to treatment provided there was enough manpower for control operations with input support.  It said the outbreak has been triggered by warm temperatures associated with dry spell. 

Besides holding awareness campaigns on FAW from time to time, the department is using treatment methods like application of Azadiracthin 1500 ppm, Metarhizium Anisopliae an entomopathogenic fungi, Bacillus thuringiensis etc.

According to a report from the department, the infestation would continue till the end of May 2021 in maize crops sown in the month of March.

It said that the damage percentage might be more this year once the report from various establishments arrived. It also added that in heavily infested and damaged areas, reaching economic threshold level could require alternatives such as replacement by a different crop such as oilseeds or pulses.

When contacted over phone, the agriculture production commissioner (APC) Nagaland, Kikheto Sema said that all personnel of the departments of agri and allied sectors have reached the sites and locations where reports of FAW and other natural calamities have been reported. APC informed that all officers in those departments have been told to be in station and submit reports to the concerned authorities and also attend to the needs of the aggrieved farmers. 

APC said that the agri & allied departments including FOCUS-IFAD have started distribution of seeds and planting materials to ensure that no fields were empty due to occurrence of FAW and places where other natural calamities have had its bearings on the crop fields. He said that the damaged seeds have been replaced ‘in situ’ and the land resource department has also stepped in by providing coffee pulper machines to the farmers. 

APC said that the pandemic should not deter agri and allied sectors to function normally. APC, however, urged the farmers to attend to the fields while maintaining the SOPs laid down by the government.     

On April 28 last, APC had informed that Nagaland was facing a drought-like situation during a meeting of all agri & allied departments and asked the agri & allied departments to take stock of the situation and take immediate action in affected areas hit by FAW on crops and Foot and Mouth disease in livestock.

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