AIZAWL, May 16 - Scientists from ICAR who are visiting Mizoram in the wake of Fall Armyworms (FAW) attack on maize farms across the eight districts have assured the farmers not to panic as the pests will not attack other crops.
Dr JC Sekhar, principal scientist at All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) and principal investigator (Entomology) at ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research (IIMR), Hyderabad, talked of how Fall Armyworms attacked maize crops in Telangana and Andra Pradesh in 2018.
�Despite reports that FAW can cause damage to 80 different crops, it was found that the pests did not attack other crops like sugarcane, rice, etc., which grew next to maize crops in the two States. Therefore there is no reason for farmers to panic,� he said.
He added that there are different pests in India that attack maize crops all of which can be prevented. FAW is just one of them. The Government of India has recommended insecticides � plant extracts, biological control agents. If farmers precisely follow the government�s recommendations, FAW can be avoided, he said.
The scientists were speaking during an interaction with Mizoram Agriculture department officials today where they chalked out strategies to combat the pests which damaged 3,082.50 metric tonnes of maize in 2,055 hectares of land, causing an estimated loss of Rs 6.74 crore.
On Wednesday, the scientists conducted a State level training programme on scientific management of Fall Armyworm in Aizawl. It was followed by a visit to the FAW-hit maize farms near Aizawl.
Dr Kesavan Subaharan, principal scientist, ICAR-National Bureau of Agriculture Insect Resources (NBAIR), Bengaluru, stressed the importance of maintaining ecological balance while combating pests that attack crops. He said ICAR-NBAIR has different types of pesticides and the know-how to combat the pests and is extending every possible assistance to Mizoram.
The scientists were satisfied with the rapid response teams formed by Mizoram Government.