Agri Dept to introduce a virus next week

The Department of Agriculture says a virus will be introduced next week, to destroy the Fall armyworm or the species locally known as the ‘Sena caterpillar’ which has been causing severe damages to various crops including maize cultivations.

Speaking to media in Kandy, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Anura Wijeythunga said the virus will not have any impact on humans or maize cultivations.

He said the virus will only target the ‘Sena caterpillar’ and also noted that it will be made available to the farmers by next week. Anura Wijeythunga said through the virus the impact of the ‘Sena caterpillar’ on local crops can be minimised in future.

He said this year the ‘Sena caterpillar’ has destoyed cultivations in the Anuradhapura, Ampara, Batticaloa and Monaragala districts although not to the same levels seen in the year 2018.

Deputy Director Wijeythunga said if farmers take adequate measures the damages can be reduced.

Director General of Agriculture Dr. WMW Weerakoon meanwhile said a number of measures have been taken to control the Fall armyworm.

He added they do not expect it to make a huge impact on local crops this year.

Dr. Weerakoon confirmed that farmers will be compensated through an insurance scheme if damages were caused to their cultivations

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