Itanagar: The College of Horticulture & Forestry (CHF) at Pasighat, the headquarters of East Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh has said the fall armyworm (FAW), a highly fecund invasive pest, has been found in maize crops in its campus which could be a threat to the farmers in the district.
“The pest occurrence is severe and has outbreak proportions and can multiply in geometric proportions within no time,” the college said in a report. It added that the pest may spread to nearby districts quickly. The caterpillars inside the cob affect the growth of maize crops.
Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda is an economically important, notorious, wide host range, high fecundity pest and it is invasive to India. This is the first report of fall armyworm incidence on sweet corn at the college which was detected by a team of scientists from the Department of Plant Protection, Natural Resource Management and Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the district.
The caterpillars were reported by Dr R K Patidar inside the cob, affecting the growth of maize crops but incidence was below the economic threshold level at Pasighat. The pest could attack a wide range of crops including maize, millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, sugarcane and vegetables.
Calling for immediate attention by the agriculture department, the college said that the pest could attack a wide range of crops, including maize, millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, sugarcane and vegetables.
“It has also been reported on maize, sorghum and sweet corn in different districts of India,” the report said.
A report published on July 30 last year by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (ICAR-NBAIR) further confirmed more than 70 per cent prevalence of fall armyworm on a maize field in Chikkaballapur, Karnataka.
During October 8-10 last year, experts on maize and key stakeholders from Asia gathered at Ludhiana at the 13th Asian Maize Conference to discuss pressing issues to the crop across the continent, including the spread of fall armyworm.
The conference was organized by ICAR, IIMR, CIMMYT, Punjab Agricultural University and Borlaug Institute for South Asia.
Considering its economic importance in the world including India, the CHF urged the entire extension workers, all Agriculture officials to have a vigil on the invasive pest in Arunachal Pradesh.
Also read: Arunachal news