The infestation of the crop pest has covered 227 villages in all the eight districts of Mizoram Credit: File image

Aizawl: Mizoram agriculture minister C Lalrinsanga on Monday called for concerted effort to fight and contain the outbreak of fall armyworm, a crop damaging pest which ravaged the entire state.

Addressing a political session at Mizo National Front (MNF) office here, Lalrinsanga said the government has been making massive efforts by forming state rapid response team to mitigate the loss of crops.

“Irrespective of our affiliation, we have to make collective efforts and fight with all our might to contain the outbreak,” the minister said as he appealed political parties, NGOs and the masses to join hands together.

According to the minister, fall armyworm was first spotted at Nghasih area in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district and the state government has already launched campaign since April 8.

The minister said he planned to visit Nghasih, but could not do so due to election model code of conduct being imposed by Election Commission. He added that officials of agriculture department are working round the clock to deal with the situation.

Lalrinsanga also said that the state government had also sought help from Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) to fight the infestation.

Meanwhile, CYMA president Vanlalruata said that the association would extend help to the government to ensure that the outbreak caused by fall armyworm is immediately contained.

Earlier, the youth wing of Opposition Congress had asked the state government to declare a state of emergency in view of the outbreak of fall armyworms.

Mizoram Pradesh Youth Congress Committee (MPYCC) in its statement said that the infestation of the crop pest has covered the entire state and many farmers are in great dismay due to fear of famine. “The government should declare agriculture emergency as part of massive effort to contain the outbreak,” the statement said.

Over 5,600 families from more than 220 villages in all the eight districts have been affected by the infestation of fall armyworm since it was first detect in early March.

The pests have also damaged maize cultivation in more than 2,100 hectares of lands.

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