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Bangkok experts meeting: Growing alarm over Fall Armyworm advance

21.03.2019 18:11 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) As of this week, as of Mar 20–22, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has convened a three-day meeting of international experts within Bangkok and officials from the countries affected by the Fall Armyworm pest, UN Radio says referring to the FAO report. It is to be admitted, the Fall Armyworm pest is continuing to sweep across the globe, having moved eastwards from their native Americas, onto Africa, before arriving within Asia last summer, where they now threaten to cost farmers from India to Thailand with milliards of dollars of their lost crops. As of Mar 20, the experts within Bangkok started discussing what to do about stopping the onward march of the crop-guzzling insects, and limiting the devastation they cause. "We are here today- together- because we share a growing sense of alarm- but also to learn from each other, particularly from those countries whove already been responding to their own infestations, Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, admitted.. «We need to work together because this is a pest that has no respect for international boundaries, threatens our food security, our economies, domestic and international trade, and of course the smallholder farmer who wakes up one morning to a cash crop under attack,» he stressed. It is to be admitted, now the FAO continues working with the corresponding authorities worldwide to initiate awareness programmes that inform and train farmers on integrated pest management techniques. These include identifying natural enemies of the Fall Armyworm, enhancing natural biological controls and mechanical controls, such as crushing egg masses and employing the use of biopesticides. In meanwhile, the FAO experts point out that the use of chemical pesticides needs to be very carefully considered, given that FAW larvae hide largely in the ring of leaves (whorl), and that chemical pesticides can have negative effects on environment and public health. This is taken into consideration at policy and field level. With these measures put in place, the negative effects of infestations can be sustainably managed and can help to maintain populations low enough to limit economic and livelihood damage.

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