A Joint Action Team (JAT), comprising representatives from Central Integrated Pest Management Centre (CIPC), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Manipur, Central Agricultural University Manipur and Agriculture department have been formed to tackle the menace of “fall armyworm” pest in the state.
On Thursday, the team visited Chandonpokpi village in Chandel district, which is under severe threat by the pest.
The formation of JAT comes two days after the ICAR sounded alert on the detection of the invasive pest in the state.
The team will visit different parts of the state affected due to the pest and spray bio-pesticides, besides setting up pheromone traps.
A CIPMC survey has confirmed that worst affected areas are Churachandpur, Kanglatombi-Charhajare, Imphal West, Chandel, Kakching, Thoubal and Kangpokpi district.
The pest is suspected to have arrived from Mizoram via Churachandpur district of Manipur, which borders Mizoram.
With the season of rice farming starting soon, entomologists have expressed concerns that the pest could shift its target to rice after devastating its host plant maize. Experts are appealing to farmers to refrain from using ordinary pesticides for the pest as it can develop resistance to it.
The fall armyworm pest, which is native to America, was detected in Lamphel and Langol Research farm of council, Manipur Centre.
In India, the pest was detected for the first time in Karnataka in 2018 and rapidly spread to other parts of the country. Chattisgarh was the last state to report the pest in January this year.