In order to support farmers in curbing fall armyworm (FAW) through knowledge empowerment, Minster of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Parshottam Rupala launched an exclusive farmer friendly website (www.fallarmyworm.org.in) on Thursday in New Delhi. The website is developed by South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), New Delhi and supported by the agricultural sciences company FMC Corporation.
Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda is an invasive pest that has been a cause of concern for maize farmers in all maize growing areas of India. The website to support farmers in curbing of FAW in India through knowledge empowerment. Minister Rupala also released Gujarati version of four fall armyworm posters including “FAW life cycle”, “FAW IPM Triangle”, “Alert Farmer is SAFFAL Farmer” and “Tips for Farmers” for the benefits of Gujarati farmers who grow maize on 600,000 hectares in Dahod, Godhara, Sabarkantha, Banaskantha and Anand areas of the state.
Launching website, the minister hailed the success of Project SAFFAL (Safeguarding Agriculture and Farmers against Fall Armyworm), which is conducting country-wide farmers’ awareness programme on fall armyworm in major maize growing states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
In this Kharif season, project SAFFAL conducted large numbers of mega farmers’ awareness programmes and mobilised grassroots extension and state agriculture department officials, researchers, RAVE students, DAESI retailers and NGOs to help maize farmers deal with the devastating fall armyworm. Project SAFFAL has already distributed more than 30,000 posters on FAW in Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil in the respective states for better awareness among farmers. In order to reduce cost of production, Project SAFFAL has educated farmers to install pheromone traps and distributed thousands of pheromone traps and lures to detect FAW at very early stage of infestation. Project SAFFAL has also educated farmers to wear personal protective equipment and distributed safety kits to smallholder maize farmers to reduce exposure and ensure personal safety.
Focused on welfare of maize farmers and other extension functionaries, the website contains data on control strategies, alerts and advisories issued by various organisations, SAFFAL FAW help centre, research resources, and information from international and national institutions. An interesting feature of the website is an interactive map showing the FAW experts’ network, providing the details of maize experts who can be reached for advice and guidance to control FAW all over India.
Project SAFFAL is executed by South Asia Biotechnology Centre and supported by FMC Corporation and implemented in collaboration with key stakeholders in maize value chain.
Dr Sain Dass, former Director of ICAR- Indian Institute of Millets Research (ICAR-IIMR); Dr Bhagirath Choudhary, Director, South Asia Biotechnology Centre; Raju Kapoor, Director – Public and Industry Affairs, FMC Corporation and Binod Anand, Secretary General of Confederation of NGO of Rural India (CNRI) were present during the launch of website.