Since March 2019, FWA were reportedly found in Indonesia, specifically in West Pasaman, West Sumatra.
Director of Food Crop Protection of the Directorate General of Food Crops at the Ministry of Agriculture Edy Purnawan noted in a written statement in Jakarta that based on the findings, he had taken precautionary measures to protect against the dangers of pests from Brazil.
"We have sent a circular letter to the Agriculture Service and BPTPH for Provinces across Indonesia. We remind you to raise awareness of the dangers of pests, also called armyworms," Purnawan remarked.
In the circular, the Ministry of Agriculture has called the attention of the Provincial Government to conduct intensive monitoring, particularly in the central area of corn production. Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture has dispatched pesticide assistance to locations indicated of the pest attack.
He explained that another anticipatory measure adopted was to implement a control movement in the area of the Spodoptera frugiperda attack.
"Until now, Spodoptera frugiperda has been reported by POPT officials (Plant Pest Control Organisms), already in North Sumatra, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, and Lampung," he remarked.
Among provinces that reported the danger of armyworm attacks was North Sumatra Province that is a region afflicted by a fairly wide attack. The Directorate General of Food Crops has taken other precautionary measures by sending pesticide assistance to the locations of the attacks.
FWA is a pest originating from the American mainland and reaching Nigeria in 2016, while in 2018, it has been found in Thailand and Sri Lanka and spread to Indonesia in early 2019.
Purnawan pointed to armyworm pests being categorized as new pests in Indonesia and still declared as Quarantine Pests. Hence, specific control technologies for containing the spread of these pests have yet to be found.
"Hence, a focus group discussion (FGD) was held to obtain inputs from experts on protection of food crops. The FGD was attended by experts from UGM, IPB, and UB Malang universities," he stated.
This discussion led to the Directorate of Food Crop Protection and Plant Quarantine and Security Center producing several recommendations for measures to handle Spodoptera frugiperda pests.
These recommendations comprise raising awareness of Spodoptera frugiperda pests and ways to handle them among field officers and farmers, offering technical guidance to field officers (POPT, Extension) and communities and farmers on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Spodoptera frugiperda.
Other suggestions were conducting control movements in areas affected by the Spodoptera frugiperda attack and proposing the supply of insecticides that effectively control Spodoptera frugiperda.
Reproduction of biological control agents by optimizing the role of PPAH (Biological Agents Service Post) and coordinating with the Agricultural Quarantine Agency for monitoring and surveillance of Spodoptera frugiperda were also recommended.
EDITED BY INE