Written by Chathuranga Hapuarachchi
22 Mar, 2019 | 4:36 pm
Colombo (News 1st): In response to the sudden onset of the Fall Army Worm in Asia, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has convened a meeting of officials from the affected countries, as well as experts who’ve been tackling the fallout of FAW in Africa and Latin America – and who have been learning ways to limit the damage.
Fall Army Worm (FAW) was first detected in India in July 2018 and by January of this year, it had spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and China’s Yunnan Province.
In the case of Sri Lanka, there were reports that up to 40 000 hectares had been infested, resulting in some 12 percent of crop loss
Issuing a release the UN FAO says Once a FAW infestation is confirmed, governments are initiating efforts to continue to raise awareness and monitor the presence and spread of FAW on maize and other crops.
FAO has been working with the relevant authorities to initiate awareness programmes that inform and train farmers on integrated pest management techniques. These include identifying natural enemies of the Fall Armyworm, enhancing natural biological controls and mechanical controls, such as crushing egg masses and employing the use of biopesticides.
The use of chemical pesticides needs to be very carefully considered, given that FAW larvae hide largely in the ring of leaves (whorl), and that chemical pesticides can have negative effects on the environment and public health. This is taken into consideration at the policy and field level. With these measures put in place, the negative effects of infestations can be sustainably managed and can help to maintain populations low enough to limit economic and livelihood damage.
Image 02: (L-R) Mr. Anura Wijayatunga – Assistant Director of Agriculture (Development), Extension & Training Center, Peradeniya; Dr. D.B.T. Wijeratne, Assistant FAO Representative (Programme) and Ms. K.N.C. Gunawardene – Principal Scientist (Entomology), Field Crops Research and Development Institute, Mahailluppallama of the Department of Agriculture; with Mr. Allan Hruska – Principal Technical Coordinator – Fall Armyworm, FAO Plant Protection and Production Division (FAO Headquarters, Rome) – in center
Image Courtesy: UNFAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
The full press release of the UNFAO can be read here; Asia prepares for crop battle with Fall Armyworm
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