Aizawl, May 17 (PTI): The Mizoram Agriculture department is taking steps to increase maize production despite an outbreak of the Fall Army Worm (FAW), which has left a trail of destruction in the maize fields across the state, officials said on Friday.
The state was expecting an increase in maize production, had it not been for the FAW outbreak.
The production of maize in the state was 8,911 metric ton in 5,779 hectares in 2016-17 while it was 9,470.6 metric ton in 5,979.2 hectares in 2017-18, the officials of the Agriculture Department said.
“We expect a high increase in the cultivation area and production in view of the department’s concentration on maize cultivation in the low-lying areas of central Mizoram’s Serchhip district under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY),” the officials said.
Additional seeds have been distributed to the maize farmers for Rabi and Kharif crops, though the FAW “has been a big blow” to the cultivators, they said,
However, they expressed hope that a large number of maize plants will have normal yield following efforts made by the department in containing the outbreak and mitigating the losses.
So far, outbreak of the maize attacking FAW has infested 68 per cent of the maize cultivation areas in Mizoram affecting 2,424 hectares of the 3,539 hectares of the total maize fields being surveyed and 6,625 maize cultivating families.
The first case of FAW incidence was identified at Nghasih area near Lunglei town on April eight and had then spread to all the eight districts in the state.
The state government also constituted a Rapid Response Team which made efforts to mitigate the losses of the maize cultivators by using pesticides and also educating the farmers how to use the pesticides.