Aizawl: At least 1,409 hectares of maize cultivation in Mizoram has been affected by an insect attack, a state Agriculture department official said on Tuesday.
The outbreak of Fall Army Worm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda an insect has spread to all the eight districts of the state and has caused an estimated loss of Rs 18.05 crore of maize cultivation, the official said.
A state level Fall Army Worm Rapid Response Team (RRT) was constituted to combat of the FAW outbreak while district agriculture officials were activated to take measures for mitigating the loss of crops and also to launch operation to contain the outbreak.
Joint director of the state Agriculture department (crop husbandry) James Lalsiamliana told PTI that chemical pesticides as well as organic ones were used to kill the worms in the maize fields.
“Utmost care was taken to ensure that the pesticides were not harmful to human beings by imparting education to the people and by giving strict instructions about the usage of the pesticides,” Lalsiamliana said.
He said that while 80 affected villages covering all the districts have been surveyed the survey continued to cover all the villages where outbreak was reported.
After receiving warning from the Centre, the state Agriculture department had sent warnings to all the District Agriculture Officers on February 27 last on the possibility of incidence of FAW in the state.
The FAW outbreak was reported in neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar early this year.
Experts said that the FAW is a lepidopteran pest feeding in many foods (polyphagous) and eating leaves and stems of more than 80 plant species.