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Pest attack affects 68 per cent maize cultivation in Mizoram

The recent pest attack has affected 68 per cent of maize cultivation in Mizoram, an official said on Wednesday.

The pest, fall armyworm (Sodoptera frugiperda), has affected 2,424 hectare out of 3,539 hectare of maize fields in the state, the Joint Director of the Agriculture Department, James Lalsiamliana, told PTI.

As a result a total of 5,525 families have been affected, Lalsiamliana said.

The pest attack was first detected in the state on April 8 and it spread across all the eight districts of the state very fast, he added.

State level Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) and district level RRTs are working together to combat the menace by using pesticides, Lalsiamliana said.

The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a pest that feeds in large numbers on the leaves and stems of more than 80 plant species, causing major damage to economically important cultivated grasses such as maize, rice, sorghum and sugarcane but also other vegetable crops and cotton, officials said.

A group of scientists from Delhi arrived in Aizawl on Wednesday and visited the affected fields.

The scientists also held a workshop for the agriculture scientists of the state, an official statement said.