Economic analysis of pesticide expenditure for managing the invasive fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) by maize farmers in Karnataka, India.
The fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) invaded India for the first time in May 2018 in Karnataka and since then has threatened maize production in the country. In this study conducted during 2017-2020, a total of 150 smallholder maize farms were randomly selected and surveyed from three major maize-growing districts in Karnataka for the pesticide usage patterns, pesticide cost and yield. During 2020, FAW infestation level was recorded at 2.15 larvae per 100 plants with an overall Davis damage score of 3.80. Maize farmers used on an average 2.12 pesticide sprays per season for FAW management in the surveyed districts in 2020. Maize yield was 4.46, 3.76, 4.06 and 4.18 tonnes per hectare in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively, and the average cost on pesticides spent by farmers per 100 kg maize grain during the same years was US$ 0.124, US$ 2.04, US$ 1.68 and US$ 1.39 respectively. The study highlights the effect of FAW invasion on pest management regime in the maize crops of Karnataka. Integrated pest management is the need of the hour to reduce the environmental impact of synthetic pesticides use and to protect the incomes and livelihood of the smallholders.