Recently, Mr Nit Ti (Left) interviewed Mr Sem Sokha (Right) a farmer who is growing corn in Tboung Khmum Province, Cambodia on how fall armyworm (FAW) is impacting his cornfield.
What has been difficult this year (2021) about the management of plant pests and diseases?
From my experience this year, weeds and diseases management have not been the big problem. It has been the plant pests that have caused damage in my cornfield. I have grown corn for more than 10 years but I have never seen damage like that of the armyworm that destroyed my plants during 2019. I planted around 1 ha of corn and most of the plants were damaged by that pest.
How did you learn about FAW?
After hearing information from the District Extension Agriculture Officer, I recognized that the pest in my crop was this new fall armyworm. The officer showed me a poster of FAW, how to identify it in the field, and told me that this pest could cause great damage to corn, especially in the early growing stage.
What do you need more help with to better control plant pests and diseases?
To be honest, I really need more help to control plant pests and diseases. For example, FAW is not easy to manage and I must use pesticides to control it. Before the presence of FAW, I just sprayed around two- or three times with pesticides but now I have to spray at least six times. So, I need help with how to control FAW and other pests/diseases in an economic way plus more information on how to use pesticides safely.
Where do you get most of your information from?
Most of the information I get is from social media (Facebook) that is posted by the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and other relevant Facebook Pages. Also, farmers in my village share information when they get a new problem on crops and will pass on their solutions to manage plant pests and diseases.