The fall armyworm or Spodoptera frugiperda is an insect which prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 additional species of crops Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Nagaland agriculture and coordination minister G Kaito Aye on Tuesday said that the state government will leave no stone unturned in combating and containing the outbreak of fall armyworms in the state.

“I am distressed over the menace being faced by our hardworking farmers,” Aye said in a press release.

“We are also keeping track of technological innovations and digital tools that are being developed to ensure timely and context-specific information to enable farmers to track, spot and treat the FAW pest,” Aye added.

Seeking cooperation from the farmers, Aye urged them to take advantage of technical camps being organised for their benefit and further employ scientific methods to battle the invasion of the pest.

Earlier on May 10, the government sounded a high alert on the fall armyworm infestation after attack on agricultural crops in Mizoram and Manipur and parts of Kohima were reported, stating that the exotic pest can feed on 80 different crops, with maize being a major crop, in Nagaland.

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Taking all efforts, a state-level workshop on promotion of scientific maize cultivation and FAW management was organised by the ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region Nagaland Centre and ICAR-Indian Institude of Maize Research (IIMR), Ludhiana Punjab on Monday.

Agriculture department officials giving a demonstration to farmers about fall armyworms in Chiephobozou, Kohima

Numerous training camps were conducted across the state by the department concerned. May 21, fall armyworm infestations were reported from 12 villages under Pughoboto sub-division of Zunheboto district.

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While farmers are advised to handpick larvae and destroy egg mass manually, Kebegi Kent, assistant technology manager (ATM), under Chungkila block, on May 18 demonstrated on the use of locally available botanical pesticides such as Melia azarirach, marigold, lemongrass, lantana camara, chrysanthemum and pyrethrum to manage and control the pest. She added that the leaves of these plants are ground and soaked overnight after which they are directly applied to the crops the next day to control infestation.

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