Krishi VaartaOutlook Agriculture
UNFAO Alerts India and Other Asian Countries about Fall Armyworm Attack
In addition to Myanmar, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, Fall Armyworm is rapidly spreading in India. Apart from maize, it can damage paddy, cotton, and sugar cane crops.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) has alerted India and other Asian countries about the sudden attack by the Fall Armyworm (FAW). A meeting is organised of officials from the affected countries and experts who tackled its impact in Africa and Latin America.
FAW was first detected in India in July 2018, and it further spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and China's Yunnan Province. In Sri Lanka, up to 40,000 hectares were infested which resulted in some 12% crop loss.
Issuing a release the UN FAO says once a FAW infestation is confirmed, governments are initiating efforts to continue to raise awareness and monitor the presence and spread of FAW on maize and other crops.
FAO is working with the relevant authorities to initiate awareness programs that inform and train farmers on integrated pest management techniques. These include identifying the Fall Armyworm's natural enemies, enhancing natural biological controls and mechanical controls, such as crushing egg masses, and using biopesticides.
The use of chemical pesticides needs to be considered carefully, given that FAW larvae hide largely in the ring of leaves (whorl), and that chemical pesticides can have negative effects on the environment and public health. This is taken into consideration at the policy and field level. With these measures put in place, the negative effects of infestations can be sustainably managed and can help to maintain populations low enough to limit economic and livelihood damage.
Source - Outlook Agriculture, March 22, 2019
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