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Fall Army Worm infestation reaches Nagaland, team conducts pest scouting

Kohima, May 17 (UNI) A joint surveillance team has conducted following reports of incidence and damage caused by Fall Army Worm on maize crops within Dimapur district yesterday and found that the standing crops of matured maize plants had escaped the Fall Army Worm attack, but those in the seedling and whorl stage were being damaged and infested with Fall Army Worm.

According to a press release issued by the District Agriculture Office (DAO) of Dimapur informed that the surveillance team comprising of staff from the Central Integrated Pest Management Centre (CIPMC) of Dimapur, under the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine & Storage in Faridabad and District Agriculture Office in Dimapur, visited the maize fields in and around Dimapur Sadar and conducted surveillance and pest scouting yesterday. The surveillance was conducted following reports of incidence and damage caused by Fall Army Worm on maize crops within Dimapur district. The release informed that the standing crop of matured maize had escaped the Fall Army Worm attack, but those in the seedling and whorl stage were being damaged and infested with Fall Army Worm.
The joint team interacted with farmers and suggested various control measures. The team also released Reduviid bugs in some fields as bio-control measures. The team would continue to supervise and monitor spread of Fall Army Worm pest to other crops and assist the farmers in its prevention, it stated. The Nagaland Government had last week advised district officials to take preventive measures in view of the recent outbreak of Fall Armyworm caterpillars devastating agricultural crops in the states of Mizoram, Manipur and some parts of Kohima.
The Fall Armyworm is an invasive insect indigenous to the Americas and has been spreading across the globe harming crops. It migrated to Africa in 2016 and India in June 2018. The pests are estimated to have cost damage amounting to around 3.5 billion dollars worldwide in 2017-18.
In Mizoram, it is reported that the pests have caused losses of about Rs 20 crore, affecting 1747.9 hectares of Maize cultivation in 122 villages. As it caused havoc in Mizoram, the invasive insects made their way to parts of Manipur with the worst affected areas of the state being Churachandpur, Kanglatombi-Charhajare, Imphal West, Chandel, Kakching, Thoubal and Kangpokpi district.
In large numbers, the pests attack the leaves and stems of more than 80 plant species, many of which are economically important crops such as maize, rice, sorghum and sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton, the release said.
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