With the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) causing extensive damage to maize crops in Tiruchi, Karur, Perambalur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu last year, the State government, in coordination with various Central and state government organisations, is set to evolve an action plan to prevent the pest attack in the crop this year.
On Wednesday, state agricultural officers attended a workshop on management of Fall Armyworm at Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute on the outskirts of the city. The workshop was organised by the Central Integrated Pest Management Centre (CIPMC) in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR)- KrishiVigyan Kendra (KVK).
V.Dakshinamoorthy, Director of Agriculture, said steps were being taken to evolve an integrated approach to prevent attack of the invasive pest this year. The two-day workshop would evolve and finalise an integrated crop protection protocol to prevent the pest attack.
Maize is grown on about 3.5 lakh hectares in the state and the pest had caused extensive damage in the crop last year. The pest had spread rapidly within a short period across various districts and caused damage to the crop despite various control measures.
Scientists from various agencies would share their expertise and experience to finalise the approach to be adopted to check the pest attack. Assistant Directors of Agriculture (Quality Control) and Agricultural Officers of all districts would be trained on the measures to be adopted to control the pest. Agriculture officers had a major responsibility in taking the message to the farmers.
P. Sankaralingam, Additional Director of Agriculture (Research), Directorate of Agriculture, elaborated the importance of research and management strategies to control the pest.
S. Gnanasambandan, Head, CIPMC, underlined the importance of collective and collaborative efforts by various government agencies and research institutions in the management of Fall Army Worm during the forthcoming season.
K. Prabakar, Director, Centre for Plant Protection Services (CPPS), N. Sathiah, Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural Entomology, and N.Muthukrishnan, Professor and Nodal Officer (FAW), Department of Agricultural Entomology, TNAU, Coimbatore, explained the integrated pest management capsule developed by TNAU for management of the pest in maize and other issues requiring research.
Various other experts including C. Elangovan, Head, Regional Central Integrated Pest Management Centre (RCIPMC), Bengaluru, P. Masilamani, Dean, Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute, J. Diraviyam, ICAR- Kirishi Vigyan Kendra, Karur, and V. Ambethgar, Director, TNAU-Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai, spoke.
The Joint Directors of Agriculture from various districts along with all scientists and technical experts from various agencies deliberated on integrated pest management modules developed by TNAU and ICAR to finalise the action plan for the 2019-20.