The 9th Roundtable Meeting on ASEAN Plus Three Food Security Cooperation Strategy was held in Nanning on September 21. Under the theme of “Strengthening Joint Prevention and Control of Crop Pests and Diseases and Guaranteeing Regional Food Security”, the participants shared respective practices in the prevention and control of crop diseases and pests, especially transboundary diseases and pests such as Spodoptera frugiperda.
Spodoptera frugiperda, aka fall armyworm, is a moth in the genus of spodoptera, Noctuidae family. Spodoptera frugiperda is an agricultural pest. Its larvae can devour crops such as corn and rice, inflicting serious economic losses. The speed of its growth will increase as the temperature rises, and can multiply for several generations in one year. A female moth can produce over 1000 eggs.
It is reported that, Spodoptera frugiperda spread from Myanmar to mainland China in January 2019, appearing in Jiangcheng County, Pu’er City, Yunnan Province. It has now spread to 385 counties and cities in 14 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, including Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou, and poses the risk of spreading to East China, North China and Northeast China. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China issued the circular ordering tighter monitoring and early warning regarding Spodoptera frugiperda. At present, China has set up 1 million monitoring sites for Spodoptera frugiperda on China-Myanmar border and China-Vietnam border. China has organized over 20,000 plant protection scientists and nearly 1 million farmers to carry out joint monitoring and implemented rigorous information reporting system for pests and diseases. It is required that local agricultural departments that first discover Spodoptera frugiperda make daily reporting, and that agricultural departments that have already discovered Spodoptera frugiperda report twice per week. Upwards of 40 agricultural science and technology groups visit the principal areas hit by plant pests and diseases to carry out disease and pest prevention and control.
Deputy Section Chief of the Ministry of Agriculture of Malaysia said in the speech that Spodoptera frugiperda was found in Malaysia in February 2019, having wreaked significant agricultural losses in Malaysia. Legions of larvae cause harm by cutting roots, corn and rice seedlings and the stems of young plants. The prevention and control of Spodoptera frugiperda pose a serious challenge. As of June this year, Spodoptera frugiperda pest was mainly found in western Malay Peninsula, affecting an area of 225.35 hectares. Due to the scorching heat and strong winds in Malaysia and the powerful breeding capacity of Spodoptera frugiperda, there is greater risk of migration of Spodoptera frugiperda to other areas where no pests and diseases are found.
Ma Hongtao, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, said in his concluding remarks that participating countries exchanged many measures to prevent and control Spodoptera frugiperda through this roundtable meeting, and China stands ready to work with the participating countries to strengthen cooperation and communication on the joint prevention and control of Spodoptera frugiperda and ensure food security. (Liao Zongyuan)