FAO, agri-dept to carry out awareness drive against FAW

LAHORE: The Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Punjab Agriculture Department has resolved to carry out joint awareness activities including seminars, capacity building, literature publication and campaign through media for tackling the issue of Fall Army Worm (FAW), an emerging threat for different crops especially, maize.

The FAO will also help the provincial agriculture department in capacity building of its laboratories and provision of FAW lure and traps, while help will also be sought from CABI and provincial experts in running the awareness campaign.

The DG Pest Warning & QCP briefed about the current infestation status and told the house that FAW infestation has been reported from 28 districts of Punjab, sources privy to the proceedings of the second meeting of the provincial committee on management of FAW told Business Recorder here on Monday.

DG Agriculture (Extension) Punjab Dr Anjum Ali chaired the meeting while FAO representative in Pakistan Dr Shakeel Khan, Dr Muhammad Qurban, Chief Scientist AARI, Faisalabad, progressive grower Aamer Hayat Bhandara, representative of CABI, Chief Executive Croplife Pakistan and others attended the meeting.

The meeting was given a review of current status of FAW infestation from surveillance reports of pest warning wing, support from FAO for capacity enhancement/diversification of bio-control labs and FAW lure/traps etc. with status of procurement process, development of awareness literature/handbills for capacity building of staff and farmers, international best practices through the support of CABI via FAO, early finalization of COC/LOI between FAO and Punjab agriculture department, relaxation and fast track registration of FAW specific pesticides and recommendations of pesticides against FAW by DPP, support mechanism of private sector, participation of farmers organization were discussed in details.

The DG (Ext & AR) Punjab suggested that there should be capacity building of farmers and extension agents regarding Fall Army Worm identification and management besides conducting farmers gatherings for the awareness purpose. Moreover, he also added that the flexes having awareness messages should be displayed on pesticide and seed dealers’ shops and at prominent places of fruits, vegetables and grain markets.

The DG DPP briefed that the registration of pesticides is a lengthy process. The pesticide recommendations against FAW will be provided by DPP in 3-4 days for inclusion in literature being developed for the farmers by the experts. He further explained that the management of FAW will also be made a part of locust emergency and food security project of World Bank. He also added that pest scouting of Fall Army Worm may also be extended on other crops in addition to corn crop.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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