Agri Business

Fall Army Worm has spread to more States, says Tomar

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 25, 2019

A farmer shows a Fall Army Worm on a maize plant (file photo) Reuters   -  Reuters

The Fall Army Worm (FAW), a pest found to attack maize and other crops, had spread to 14 States in the country till May this year as against eight States affected in 2018-19, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament on Tuesday. But, the area affected is still less than last year, he said.

The new States where the FAW infestation is wreaking havoc are those from the North-eastern region. While two major States which the infestation had a major impact on last year — Karnataka and Telangana — have so far remained free of the pest, the attack seems to be rampant in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, Tomar said in a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Last year, the worm, which predominantly attacks the maize crop and sorghum and ragi to some extent, affected an area of 2,11,300 hectares in Karnataka and 24,288 hectares in Telangana. In comparison, it has so far destroyed 4,553 ha in Nagaland, 4,342 ha in Manipur and 1,877 ha in Mizoram.

According to the minister, a high-power committee has been formed with the agriculture secretary and department of agriculture research and extension secretary as heads to review the status and recommend appropriate strategies.

Similarly, sub-committees have been constituted in the States of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Rajasthan.

The Indian Council of Agriculture Research has prepared a detailed Package of Practices (POP) against the pest in the Maize crop. Among other things, it contains mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical measures to control FAW. The POP has been circulated to all the States for implementation. Timely advisories are being issued regularly to State agricultural departments to adopt preventive measures, Tomar said.

Published on June 25, 2019

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