Agri Business

SABC launches project to combat fall armyworm

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 08, 2019 Published on March 08, 2019

A farmer displays a handful of Fall Armyworm caterpillars at various stages of their life cycle   -  THE HINDU

The non-governmental South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), New Delhi, on Friday launched a major project to tackle fall armyworm (FAW) infestation, which devastates crops such as maize in different parts of the country.

The multi-year programme, launched in collaboration with crop protection firm FMC India Pvt Ltd, hopes to develop a suite of techniques, good agricultural practices and control measures to tackle the menace of fall armyworm, a SABC release said.

Currently, infestation has been reported in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

This year, due to the FAW and unfavourable weather, maize production across the country fell by about 15-20 per cent. As a result, prices have shot up, making it unviable for the feed industry to sustain, it said.

“Practical experiences of successfully dealing with pink bollworm in cotton through involvement of smallholder farmers will be explored and replicated to overcome the threat of fall armyworm,” said CD Mayee, a renowned plant epidemiologist and SABC President.

A native of America, FAW has spread across the world, beginning with African farms in 2016. It was first reported in India in the maize crop in Karnataka last August. Since then, it has spread to other States.

Early emergence in the crop life cycle, voracious feeding, large-scale aggressive behaviour, high reproduction, fast migration and irreparable crop damage, all make it a formidable pest. FAW feeds on many host plants and has been found on sweet corn, baby corn, maize, sugarcane and sorghum.

Published on March 08, 2019
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