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Mitigating the impact of the invasive fall armyworm: evidence from South Asian farmers and policy recommendations

In South Asia, the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is an invasive pest. The current research examines the current farming management practices and documents farmers’ opinions of fall armyworm in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. To assess current agricultural practices, identification of the fall armyworm and its damage, management, capacity-building initiatives, and support from government and non-government extension services, a structured survey of 526 farmers was carried out. The findings indicated that the majority of farmers reported extremely high to moderate fall armyworm damage, and that both the damage and spread grew over time. Chemical pesticides remained the most used technique, despite farmers employing a variety of fall armyworm management practices. While services from government and non-government offices were scarce, farmers learned about the pest and its identification from their fellow farmers and personal experiences. Consequently, a creative extension strategy is required, one that emphasizes the promotion of digital technologies. The management of fall armyworm similarly requires the evaluation and promotion of innovative technologies as a component of integrated pest management (IPM) methods.

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