Fall armyworm helps destroy one fourth of Sri Lanka’s maize crop

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s farmers are estimated to lose about 80,000 metric tonnes of maize, or a quarter of the estimated production in Maha cultivation season, mainly due to fall army worm infestation, the state agricultural office said.

Sri Lanka’s farmers had cultivated 88,154 hectares of maize this season, on the back of better rainfall up from 63,926 hectares last year.

But 43,576 hectares had been damaged by fall army worms, drought and floods. The pest started widespread crop damage from last year. The variant  that has reached Sri Lanka mainly attacked maize.

Sri Lanka’s department of agriculture expects about 79,982 metric tonnes of maize to be lost to the pest and some flooding and drought that had taken place in several districts.

But on the back of a larger area cultivated than last year, total maize output is estimated to be 250,672 metric tonnes, higher than last year’s 242,936 metric tonnes.

Some maize farmers in areas like Kurunegala have found market for damaged maize plants in the cattle farms. (Colombo/May30/2019)

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