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Fall armyworm attacks most maize fields in Atrai UZ Achievement of 40,500 tonnes output becomes uncertain

Our Correspondent | April 08, 2019 00:00:00

A maize field damaged by fall armyworm pest at Shahagola union of Atrai upazila in Naogaon district — FE Photo

NAOGAON, Apr 07: The attack of fall armyworm, a crop-eating pest native to the Americas, is threatening the achievement of around 40,500 tonnes of maize production in Atrai upazila of the district this season.

Farmers are struggling to protect their maize fields as the regular pesticides are not working effectively to stop the devastating pest.

Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said about 5,000 hectares of land have been brought under cultivation of maize in all the eight unions of the upazila this year.

Of them, a lion's share of the cultivated crop has been affected by the pest attack.

DAE officials said fall armyworm causes serious leaf feeding damage as well as direct injury to the ear. When fall armyworms can damage maize plants in nearly all stages of development, they concentrate on later plantings.

The dreadful worm cannot be killed with chemical pesticides. They can only be controlled by applying bio-pesticides, but cannot be eradicated fully, they added.

One Munir Hossain of Jotopara village under Shahagola union informed fall armyworm insect is more detrimental than the other local insects because of its massive destructive power.

Upazila agriculture officer K.M Kausar Hossain stated the late planted maize fields and later maturing hybrids are more likely to become infected by the insect.

"We are discouraging farmers from using chemical pesticides as they are ineffective. Rather, farmers can use bio-pesticides and pheromone trap," Mr. Hossain added.

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