Maize cultivation in Kalahandi under pest attack

Kalahandi: Following reports of Fall Armyworm (FAW) infestation in acres of maize cultivation in Sundergarh, the hitherto unseen insect has now started infesting maize crops in several regions of Kalahandi district.
After receiving complaints from maize cultivators in Narla and Golmunda about the damage caused to their crops by some unknown bugs, the Agriculture department officials visited the blocks for inspection.

The officers reportedly detected FAW infestation and prescribed pesticides to control the attack. However, the farmers alleged that the pesticides are not effective on the worms resulting in large-scale damage of maize cultivation in the region.

A farmer Naresh Sahu alleged, “At first, we had to struggle with deficit rainfall and now this new type of pests are threatening our crops. We have been given some pesticides by the concerned authorities but they are not effective.”

“The officers are saying that these are some foreign bugs. Agriculture department officers recently visited the village and prescribed us some pest control medicines, but those are not effective. If the same situation persists, how will we manage our livelihood?” alleged another farmer, Suru Agaharia.

Experts say FAW attacks the unopened leaves of the crop due to which the quantum of damage is huge. Besides, it also reproduces in large numbers and its eggs develop fast into grubs, which make the crops even more susceptible.
“The pest attacks the crops in growing stage and eats up the unopened leaves,” said a farmer Dinabandhu Harijan.

“This is a new type of bug and particularly attacks maize cultivation. We recently visited Manjeri village and have recommended some pesticides. We have also organised programmes to create awareness among farmers to tackle FAW attacks,” informed Golamunda Agriculture Officer, Nihar Nayak.