A webinar was hosted by the Department of Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare, Jammu and CABI to promote the sustainable management of Fall armyworm (spodoptera frugiperda). The informative webinar explored how this invasive pest can be monitored and managed in the maize growing regions of Jammu, Northern India.
The webinar, entitled “Management Strategy of Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Jammu”, was organised by the Department of Agriculture Production & Farmers Welfare, Jammu in collaboration with CABI at Krishi Bhawan, Talab Tillo. Participants representing CABI included Dr. Malvika Choudhary, Dr. Manju Thakur, Dr. Lena Durocher Gangar and Dr. Vinod Pandit who is also Programme Leader, CABI, South Asia.
More than 150 people attended the webinar including Chief Agriculture Officers, DAOs, SDAOs, AEOs, Plant Doctors and other field functionaries of the Department of Agriculture Jammu.
Raising awareness of FAW
The programme raises awareness of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices for fall armyworm and how this invasive pest can be controlled in a sustainable manner.
Native to Americas, fall armyworm is an incredibly successful invasive pest. They feed in large numbers on leaves and stems of more than 80 plant species, causing major damage to maize, sorghum, sugarcane but also other vegetable crops and cotton. The life cycle of the fall armyworm and its ability to spread and reproduce quickly, make it difficult to control.
The presence of the FAW was confirmed in Karnataka State, India in mid-2018. Since then, Plantwise and partners have been on the ground working to create awareness among farmers and contributing to the development of safe and effective management of the pest.
Action plan in place
In opening the session, Joint Director for Agriculture (Extension), Shahid Iqbal Sheikh, highlighted the importance of the webinar and the need for information and resources to tackle FAW outbreaks in the Jammu region.
Director of AP&FW, Jammu, K. K. Sharma emphasised that costs associated with plant protection are a major factor governing farming production. As an invasive alien species, the management of FAW should be prioritised and an effective action plan against the pest drawn up.
He added that the extension agency, including 40 e-plant clinics, had already been put on alert and were ready to aid with surveillance, identification and advice on the control of FAW if/when the need arises.
Current status of FAW
Plant Protection Officer, Davinder Sharma discussed the current status of FAW in the Jammu region. There is currently a 2.11 lakh hectare area under maize crop in Jammu, which adds to the importance and timeliness of the webinar. Although FAW feed on a wide range of crops, maize is their preferred host crop. The programme was followed by a brief question & answer session. The webinar was coordinated by Programme officer, Sanjay Dhar and Incharge Plant Health Clinic Jammu, Arun Khajuria
The facilitators emphasised the need for strengthening the monitoring and surveillance of FAW to help with the early detection of the pest.
Topics covered in the webinar included FAW identification and different management approaches such as bio-pesticides and locally-available natural bio-control agents. The experts underlined the need to integrate cultural, mechanical, chemical and biological measures along with IPM for the successful, and economical, management of FAW.
Since its launch in 2011, CABI’s Plantwise programme has been introduced to 34 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. The aim was to increase food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses. This was achieved by establishing sustainable networks of local plant clinics, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers receive practical plant health advice. Working in close partnership with over 170 in-country partners, Plantwise strengthened national plant health systems from within, enabling countries to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to lose less of what they grow.
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More information on Fall armyworm https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/29810
CABI gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom; the Directorate- General for International Cooperation (DGIS), Netherlands; the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); the European Commission (DG DEVCO); the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China; Irish Aid; and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
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