The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sounded the alarm after the invasive agricultural pest, Fall Armyworm (
), was discovered in Karnataka this July.
A major maize pest in North America, the Fall Armyworm arrived in Africa in 2016. Since then, it has threatened the continent’s maize crop, a staple which feeds 300 million people.
The Karnataka finding is the first report of the pest in Asia. The discovery is more worrisome because the pest feeds on around 100 different crops, such as vegetables, rice, and sugarcane.
Its discovery in Karnataka means its spread to the rest of the country, as well as neighbouring countries, could be just a matter of time.
Entomologists C.M. Kalleshwara Swamy and Sharanabasappa from Shivamogga’s University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences first suspected that something was amiss when the pest infestation in maize crops in Shivamogga spiked this year.
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