Posts Tagged ‘South Asia’

Fall armyworm reported in India: battle against the pest extends now to Asia

By: Carolyn Cowan and Jennifer Johnson

A fall armyworm found on maize plants in Khamman district, Telangana state, India. Photo: ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research

The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, a devastating insect-pest, has been identified for the first time on the Indian subcontinent. Native to the Americas, the pest is known to eat over 80 plant species, with a particular preference for maize, a main staple crop around the world. The fall armyworm was first officially reported in Nigeria in West Africa in 2016, and rapidly spread across 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  Sightings of damage to maize crops in India due to fall armyworm mark the first report of the pest in Asia.

Agricultural Innovation for Pakistan: New High-yielding Maize Varieties

Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal

Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal

Several new high-yield maize varieties have been introduced for commercial use in Pakistan this past week, lauded as the “first ever type of maize innovation in Pakistan,” according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Maize Improvement and Seed System Specialist, Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir. The varieties, which were developed by CIMMYT, can yield as much as 10 tons per hectare.

International Breeding for Success in Asia

Preparing food with maize and chickpeas in BangladeshFrequent germplasm exchange between the Americas, Africa and Asia made maize the crop it is today. At one point in 2005, Brazilian elite breeding material was crossed with local Thai varieties, creating a breeding line that spread throughout Asia and even returned to predominate in southern USA.

For Walter Trevisan, Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) Steering Committee Chair, the transnational history of maize breeding offers several important lessons for maize breeders today.