Nagaland: Calls to tackle FAW on war footing

State’s Horticulture dept holds awareness campaign & training for mitigation

Our Correspondent
Kohima | June 2

The need to tackle Fall Armyworm (FAW) on war footing in Nagaland has been stressed at the awareness campaign and training for mitigation of FAW was held at the directorate of Horticulture, Kohima on June 1. 

Addressing the officers, horticulture advisor Mhathung Yanthan stressed on the need to put a concerted effort to control and combat the menace of FAW.

We cannot remain insensitive to this issue, he said and urged upon the officers of the department to be pro-active and remain surveillance to control and minimize the further spread of FAW.

Yanthan urged the officers to visit the affected fields and report the matter to the authority concerned.

Also urging the officers to be mindful and sensitize the farmers, he asked them to coordinate with Agriculture department, KVKS or any other agency which involve with this disease.

Yanthan also stressed on the need to get proper survey of the damaged crops.

Also addressing the campaign programme, MK Mero, principal secretary for horticulture stressed on the need to address and tackle the menace of FAW on war footing.

Mero called upon the field officers to do their best to mitigate this issue.

He also called for assessing the extent of damage caused by FAW so that the concerned authority like State Disaster Management Authority would take necessary measures.

Horticulture director Dr. R Elithung Lotha said that a time has come to use professional knowledge to tackle FAW.

“Let us all be serious and take up this issue with all seriousness for the benefit of the farmers,” he said.

S Senka Jamir, deputy director, Directorate of Horticulture said that FAW has brought devastating infestation to the neighbouring states and Nagaland is also not far from suffering the same fate, “if we do not take immediate action against it.”

Our country that constituted more than 70% of the population in the farming sector is alarming due to outbreak of FAW, and it is now lead to a famine-like situation in Mizoram and perhaps the entire nation as well, he said.

He said that more than Rs 18.4 crore worth of crops has been reported damaged this year, as it is infesting over 300 plant species, with maize being the major affected one. 

“But this pest is now new to us; it was always there and it is due to lack of adequate knowledge, action and awareness that we are under such unfortunate circumstances,” he said.

He stressed on the need to rise on the occasion and ensure that the department along with farmers take necessary step and prepare to mitigate and tackle this threat. 

“Let us go that extra mile and protect our crops, our farmers and our state and be an example of great efforts and team work,” he said.

Dr. Moa Walling, deputy director, Directorate of Horticulture led technical demonstration.

For immediate purchase, Botanical and Bio pesticides for Fall Army Worm (FAW) will be available at Naga Shopping Arcade- Dimapur Nagaland. Contact: 9436012524.

FAW PheroLure (R) rubber septa should be replaced every 5-6 weeks.

The programme was chaired by Y Bongti Konyak, Deputy Director, Director, Directorate of Horticulture.

The programme was followed by distribution of equipments and inputs.

History of FAW

Fall Army Worm (Spodoptera frugiperda. JE Smith 1797) is a species in the order of Lepidoptera. This armyworm is widely distributed in Eastern and central of North America and South America. 

In 2016 it was reported in Africa and spread to 28 countries. In July 2018 it begins to spread widely in India.

Once the worm enters a country, there is no way to stop its spread. Its effect can be minimized through monitoring, surveillance and creating awareness among the farmers to scout their crops for early detection.

Fall army worm is exotic and invasive migratory pest, a voracious feeder damaging economically important cultivated crops such as maize, wheat, potato, soybean, cowpea, peanuts, sorghum, rice, sugarcane, vegetables, cotton etc. 

It attacks 80 crop species. Its diet contains of 300 plant species including vegetable and ornamental plants. It poses great threat to the food security and livelihood of millions because heavy destruction can happen almost overnight. 

The adult moths are capable of flying long distance and can fly 100km in one night. In its lifetime an adult can fly more than 480km in a generation. The migration rate is remarkably fast that some scientists speculate that this fat migration is aided by air environment.

The female moth can lay up to 1500 eggs. Warmer temperature increases the metabolism and reproductive rates of pest. The larva hatches in the older leaves and then moves up the plants as they grow older. The adult larva eats cobs and leaves and drops into the soil, staying there for 10 days before emerging as an adult.

(Source: Directorate of Agriculture, Kohima: Nagaland).