Fall Armyworm

Why is it in News?

A pest ‘fall armyworm’ (FAW) had damaged 3,082.5 MT maize across 2,055 hectares of land in Lunglei district, Mizoram. The FAW spread to all the eight districts of Assam from Lunglei and have also damaged crops in Manipur.

No Insurance Scheme:

  • An estimated loss of Rs 6.47 crore may not be able to be compensated due to the absence of any insurance scheme.
  • The reason for the farmers and their crops not being insured is due to the inability of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) being introduced in Mizoram for want of a worthwhile company when the tender was floated for the purpose.
  • It has been said by the officials that farmers could still be compensated under the PMFBY. A fresh tender has been floated to which a few companies have also shown interest.

Relevance of the News:

The news throws light on the importance of crop insurance for ensuring farmer security.

Fall Armyworm (FAW):

  • FAW is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas which in the lack of nature control can cause crop destruction.
  • Though it prefers maize but can feed on more than 80 other species of crops, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.
  • First detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 it was confirmed in India and Yemen in July 2018.
  • Because of the crop trade and the moth’s strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further.