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The exotic fall army worm pest is reported to have infested crops in seven villages in Mokokchung district of Nagaland.

According to an official report on Saturday, the infested villages are Yimchalu and Mopungchuket under Kobulong block, Khensa, Kinunger and Mangmetong under Ongpangkong south block and Ungma and Mokokchung village under Ongpangkong North block.

Following information from the Farmers’ Friends, a group helping the farmers, from different villages, a triangulate team, comprising the Mokokchung district agriculture office, Krishi Vikas Kendra and Agricultural Technology Management Agency, had undertaken pest surveillance and is monitoring round ups in the entire pest reported villages.

Also read: Nagaland govt asks officials to step up measures to check Fall Armyworm

The team found the pest to be at the larval stage feeding pre-dominantly on the inner whorls of the young maize plants of knee high plant height or shorter leading to almost 80-90 per cent destruction.

The area infested by the pest varies from village to village ranging approximately between 0.5 hactare to five hectares.

During the field monitoring visits, nature of damage, life stage of the pest and levels of damages were ascertained before recommending any remedial solutions.

Accordingly, prophylactic and management measures were recommended including various mechanical, cultural and chemical approaches.

Emmamectin Benzoate five per cent and integrated pest management kits were distributed to the affected maize growing farmers besides Rodenticides (Roban Cake) to cucumber growing farmers for rodent management in the cucumber fields.

Emamectin was also given to the farmers to manage the pest.

They were also enlightened on cultural and mechanical measures on management of fall army worm.

The report said the team is continuously monitoring the fields in different villages under in the district.

It said the field functionaries are keeping vigil and constantly monitoring the fields since the onset of the Kharif season to detect any possible emergence of fall army worm in the fields.

Research experts and extension functionaries have been working to further disseminate awareness on fall army worm pest and management advisories to the farmers through various extension media.

Awareness on COVID-19: The Krishi Vigyan Kendra Mokokchung, in collaboration with the district agriculture office and ATMA, conducted awareness programme on the COVID-19 pandemic for farmers in five villages in Mokokchung district during the ongoing lockdown period.

Advisories on maintaining good hygiene, sanitization of agricultural tools and implements before and after use, along with the importance of maintaining social distancing while carrying out agricultural operations, to avert being of infected by the novel coronavirus were shared with the farmers.

Masks were also distributed among the farmers.

They were also told about the importance of the Arogya Setu App and advised to install the app in their mobile phones as another measure to be aware of any possible COVID-19 infected individual around their premises.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com