Malaysian ministry monitoring attack on corn plants by ‘fall armyworm’

KOTA BHARU (Bernama) – Malaysia’s Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry is monitoring the attack of a pest called the ‘fall armyworm’ on corn plants in Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Johor, which began in January, to ensure that it does not spread to paddy farms.

Ministry Secretary General Datuk Mohd Sallehuddin Hassan said this yesterday, explaining that for the moment, paddy farms are unaffected because the pests are feeding on corn plants, in which they are also hatching their eggs.

He added that the attacks are an international problem and Malaysia is in the midst of getting assistance from China.

It is believed that the recent haze hampered the reproduction of the pest which is resistant to insecticide, said Mohd Sallehu-ddin, adding that the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) is conducting research into the attacks.

He was speaking to reporters after launching the country’s first hybrid variety of paddy, known as the ‘MR 12H’ at the Merdeka Mulong estate.

Malaysia’s Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry Secretary General Datuk Mohd Sallehuddin Hassan during the launching of the country’s first hybrid variety of paddy at the Merdeka Mulong estate. PHOTO: BERNAMA