Biotech Updates

Tackling the Menace of Fall Armyworm to Bolster Farmers' Income in India

March 13, 2019

The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) launches the project SAFFAL to safeguard agriculture and farmers against fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) in India. Fall armyworm, a native of the Americas, is an invasive pest spreading across the world, with its incidence in African agriculture in 2016 followed by its first-time appearance on maize in the Indian state of Karnataka in August 2018. To date, the pest is reported in the states of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal. In this context, the fall armyworm presents a significant challenge to smallholder farmers by substantially increasing cost of production, reducing productivity and farmers' income and thus a considerable threat to Indian agriculture.

The salient features of Project SAFFAL are summarized as below:

  • Develop knowledge resources on fall armyworm based on global scientific data and experiences and include verifiable reports from domestic sources
  • Status report on fall armyworm, its biology, life cycle, feeding habits, adverse economic impact assessment, distribution and migration and host pest interactions to be collected, collated and expertly analysed in Indian context 
  • Create a dedicated web-based portal with repository of information and network of institutions to spread information in India
  • Organize farm demonstrations in collaboration with respective public sector institutions to showcase IPM package of practices.
  • Build capacity and skills of smallholder farmers by organizing farm programs, field visits and farmers' fair at demonstration field to spread information about best practices.
For more information, contact