FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2019
NAY PYI TAW – U.S.-based agricultural experts are in Myanmar this week working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation (MOALI) and farming communities to mitigate the spread of a new agricultural pest called Fall Armyworm, which has the potential to dramatically reduce maize crop production in Myanmar. Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) brought eight experts from Michigan State University to Nay Pyi Taw to conduct a two-day workshop with MOALI to discuss mitigation strategies with agribusiness representatives, NGO’s, CSOs, and national and local-level government officials. Earlier this week, the Michigan State team and officials from the MOALI Plant Protection Division and Department of Agricultural Research conducted field assessments with farmers whose crops have been hardest hit by Fall Armyworm in the Nyaungdone, Danuphyu, and Hintada townships of the Delta Region.
“The Myanmar government asked us for help to assess and advise on how to mitigate crop losses due to this agricultural pest, which is new to Myanmar. We are happy to be able to help,” Ambassador Scot Marciel said at the workshop today. This is part of approximately $120 million each year the United States provides in bilateral assistance to support greater prosperity and peace in Myanmar.
Shan State is the largest producer of maize in Myanmar and farmers there are likely to be hardest hit by the pest, which was found in Myanmar for the first time in January 2019 by local MOALI field staff in the Zalon and Hintada Townships.
“Key to minimizing the damage done to crops in Myanmar is working with farmers, MOALI, agribusinesses, and local and international development partners to better be able to identify the pest and prevent its spread” USAID Mission Director Teresa McGhie said. “That’s why we are pleased to lend U.S. agricultural expertise to support this workshop intended to help MOALI and farmers,” she added.
USAID has also created a short educational video to inform farmers about how to look for and identify the pest among their crops, and is distributing the video to farmers through social media and Department of Agriculture Extension Services.
Within the last year, the Fall Armyworm was found in other countries in the region, including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. USAID is also supporting regional efforts to coordinate planning to sustainably control Fall Armyworm and minimize its impact on rural maize farmers.
For more information on the Fall Armyworm, the video is available here:
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