Measures to control spread of ‘sena’

Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister P. Harrison has instructed Agriculture Ministry Secretary K.D.S. Ruwanchandra to take all necessary measures to control the spreading of crop-destroying caterpillar known as ‘Sena’ (Fall Armyworm - Spodoptera frugiperda).

The Ministry has already taken a number of measures to prevent the spreading of Sena. Accordingly, the Ministry has introduced four insecticides and appointed a Task Force to work on this. The government has already granted a 50 percent subsidy for those insecticides.

Minister Harrison also instructed the Secretary to seek the advice of Agriculture Department officials, environmentalists and experts to prevent this menace which has already been reported from three districts, from speading.

The Ministry has also taken measures to make farmers aware about this invasive pest and also instructed them to be vigilant on the presence of these caterpillars in their crops.

Ministry sources said the female caterpillars lay eggs and multiply very rapidly.

The presence of the invasive trans-boundary pest which was discovered for the first time in Nigeria has already spread across Asia.

This invasive pest was detected in India three months ago.

Sena is regarded as a highly invasive species due to its ability to spread and reproduce quickly. A female cetepiller can lay over 1000 eggs during its lifespan. The larvae stage is responsible for damaging the crop and the adult moths get carried away by the wind. 

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