GUWAHATI, Sept 25 - A two member central team from the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad, under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers� Welfare, visited the armyworm-affected paddy fields in the Hajo area of Kamrup district on Tuesday. The team comprising Dr Sanjay Arya, Deputy Director and Dr M Saleem, Assistant Director, were accompanied by Dr Jayanta Kr. Sharma and Dr Nirmal Mazumder, scientists of Horticultural Research Station under Assam Agricultural University, along with Dr KB Pun, scientist-in-charge of the Regional Rainfed Lowland Rice Research Station, located in Gerua of Kamrup district. This was stated in a press release.
The team made a field assessment of the extent of crop damage due to armyworm attack and control measures adopted by visiting the paddy fields in Sorabori and Sakamtoli villages under the Hajo circle. They interacted with local farmers to get first hand information regarding environmental conditions before and after the pest attack as well as the time of transplanting of the standing paddy crop. The team remarked that environmental fluctuations in terms of alternate spells of dry and rainy conditions had played a significant role in the recent armyworm epidemic in the State. It was observed during the visit that the farmers had already undertaken spraying of the crops with recommended pesticides, viz., Chlorpyriphos and Quinalphos, due to which the pest incidence has been substantially brought under control. Significantly, it was observed that armyworm attack had also spread over to the standing blackgram crop in the area.
Farmers were advised by the team to adopt peripheral application of Malathion dust prior to spraying and the cultural practices to be adopted for minimising the pest attack. They were also advised to go for community spraying in order to ensure that the pest do not harbour in isolated pockets.
Officials from the State Agriculture department also accompanied the team and apprised them regarding the areas affected by armyworm, control measures adopted and the monitoring mechanisms in place. Armyworm infestation in the standing sali paddy crop has recently assumed epidemic proportions, affecting an area of 34608 hectares in 24 districts of the State.