First detected in Karnataka only in May this year, the fall armyworm, a native of the Americas, has already spread as far as West Bengal and Gujarat, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Priyanka Pulla reports on the deficiencies in India’s quarantine regime It is a hot day in September, and two men are prising open the leaves of maize in a field in Karnataka’s Chikkaballapur district. The crop is two months away from being harvested, but the leaves look diseased. Some have streaks of white on them, while others are peppered with holes. Soon, one of the men, entomologist Arakalagud Nanjundaiah Shylesha, spies the culprit behind these holes — a small greenish-brown worm with dark lines along
Pulses imports to India, the world’s biggest buyer, may fall to their lowest in almost two decades after the Centre raised import taxes and restricted overseas purchases to bolster prices, impacting the plans of its global suppliers.The reduction in imports illustrates the government’s steps to raise the prices of pulses, like peas and lentils, to reduce payouts to farmers under its food subsidy scheme. Farmers in Canada, Australia and Russia that rely on Indian demand will likely intensify their cutbacks in pulses cultivation and continue to seek other markets in response.India’s pulses imports could slide almost 80% to 1.2 million tonnes in the current fiscal, the lowest since 2000-01, Bimal Kothari, vice-chairman, Indian Pulses and Grains Association, told Reuters.