1. Agriculture World

West Bengal Government, CropLife India Raise Awareness on Fall Armyworm Management

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

CropLife India, an association of 16 R&D driven crop science companies participated in “One day training-cum-workshop for Extension Officers & Farmers on Modern Technology of Maize Cultivation and Integrated Management of Fall armyworm (FAW)”. The workshop was organized by the Department of Agriculture, Govt. of West Bengal.  

Fall Armyworm is a destructive pest native to the tropical & subtropical regions of America, having been found everywhere from South America to eastern and central North America. FAW targets more than 80 different plants including maize, rice, cotton, sugarcane, wheat and soybeans, and has been particularly devastating in the maize producing regions of Brazil, Africa and recently India. FAW was first detected in India in July 2018 in the southern state of Karnataka and currently reported in twenty states in India, including West Bengal and the North East India.

In West Bengal, FAW infestation was evident in certain pockets in North Bengal between end of April, early May 2019 and attacked selectively the younger plant - late sown, in February. The damage was managed by the timely intervention of State Department of Agriculture. The State of West Bengal has about 2.5 Lakh Hectares of agricultural land under Maize cultivation and are extensively promoting planting of Hb Maize in moisture stressed, low yielding rice areas.

Dr Asish Banerjee, Minister of Agriculture, West Bengal highlighted the rationale of this proactive step for Farmers’ welfare that the Department of Agriculture, Govt. of West Bengal has been organizing - “One day training-cum-workshops for Extension Officers and Farmers” across the State. This has been an important step for ensuring rapid increase in the income of our farmers in WB. The first workshop, with CropLife India’s participation, was held on 22ndAugust 2019 at Balurghat, Dakshin Dinajpur, West Bengal and was attended by over 400 farmers.

The second workshop was held today in Rampurhat, Birbhum, as the State Government is now keen to aggressively expand cultivation of Hb Maize in the southern districts during the ensuing Rabi season. This is aimed at meeting the growing demand of poultry and fish feed in the State and ensure remunerative price realization by the farmers.

Mr. Pradip K. Mazumdar, Adviser to Chief Minister of West Bengal on Agriculture & allied sectors; Member, Public Policy & Planning Board, West Bengal said, “We could control FAW & thus averted the possible devastation of crop during last season. This could be ensured by our Officers of the Agriculture Directorate through timely action - viz. issuance of advisory, effective awareness campaigns, followed by readily arranging effective crop protection products during the vulnerable period. CropLife India has beena an industry partner for dissemination of knowledge to farmers on the latest approved technology and best practices in integrated pest management ”.

Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India said Partnership between Government and industry is an effective way to provide the requisite technical knowledge to farmers in mitigating challenges of invasive pests such as FAW. CropLife India members are committed towards promoting safe and responsible use of latest crop protection technologies and best practices through Industry stewardship initiatives and awareness generation amongst the farmers.”

Mr. Sen added, “keeping in view the need for effectively mitigating the emerging menace of FAW, CropLife India has constituted a multi-disciplinary Task Force, constituted from experts from  its member companies, dedicated towards the management of FAW. The Task Force is analyzing and working towards a multi-thronged strategy to thwart the spread of FAW across affected states in India”.

Discussions in the workshop revolved around Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in maize as also  effective Crop protection from seed to harvest, with particular focus on FAW management, and post-harvest care. Around 500 farmers, Extension Officers, Panchayat functionaries and policy makersparticipated in the workshop.

CropLife India was represented by Mr. Asitava Sen (CropLife India), Dr. Rajendra Deshmukh (Syngenta India), Dr. Vineet Singh (FMC Corporation) and Mr. Suhrid Barik (Corteva Agriscience). They made a comprehensive presentation on “The new invasive pest Fall Armyworm in corn: Integrated Pest Management Practices” in the workshop-cum-training. In that presentation, the CropLife India team highlighted the origin, distribution, identification, lifecycle, invasion in different states of India,  symptoms of damage caused by FAW in maize crop; and effective package of practices for timely prevention.

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