Aizawl: Mizoram has reported a fresh outbreak of Fall ArmyWorm (FAW), a dangerous crop damaging pest, which has damaged maize cultivation in several parts of the state, an official of state agriculture department said on Thursday.
Agriculture department director James Lalsiamliana said that a written report about the outbreak of FAW was received by the department from some parts of the state on May 13 although a verbal report was received early this month.
Since then agriculture officers in all districts were alerted to prevent the outbreak, he said. According to the director, the infestation has currently affected 89 villages in seven districts.
He said that FAW was detected in more than 490 hectare of land across the state where maize is being cultivated. Negligible incidence of FAW was also reported from Serchhip and Hnahthial districts, he said.
Mizoram has 11 districts and detailed information from Khawzawl and Siaha districts in the southern part of the state is awaited, he said.
Lalsiamliana said that south Mizoram’s Lunglei district and Mamit district in the western part of the state bordering Tripura and Bangladesh are the worst hit.
While FAW incidence was reported in 287 hectare of land in Lunglei district affecting 22 villages, FAW was detected in 93.6 hectare of land affecting 29 villages in Mamit district, he said. In Aizawl district, FAW incidence was reported in 38.4 hectares of land, which affected 15 villages, he said.
Lalsiamliana said that the FAW outbreak was first witnessed in the state in 2019 and the recurrence has happened every year during the dry and warm season since then.
He said that the government is making efforts to contain the infestation by providing pesticides, insecticides and carrying out awareness programme among the farmers.
Farmers were instructed to use soap solutions, concoction of salt and red pepper, and also ash to kill the destructive pests, while pesticides, insecticides and sprayers were distributed to maize cultivators in worst-hit areas, he said.
Citing that the FAW has a bleak chance of survival during the rainy season, Lalsiamliana hoped that the outbreak could be contained soon with the onset of monsoon coupled with containment measures taken by the government.
Mizoram reported the first outbreak of Fall ArmyWorm in 2019, damaging crops to the tune of over Rs 20 crore.
Over 8,900 families from more than 330 villages have been affected by the infestation and Fall ArmyWorm was detected in 2,840 hectare of land across the state that year.
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