The Tamil Nadu government Thursday announced a Rs 186 crore relief package for maize farmers affected by the infestation of the fall armyworm, a pest found to attack corn crops. Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the worm infestation has affected over 2.20 lakh hectares of maize crop out of the 3.55 lakh hectares in 17 districts of the state in 2018.
Making a suo motu statement in the state Assembly, he said this issue has affected 2.93 lakh farmers in 17 districts and therefore announced a relief of Rs 13,500 per hectare and Rs 7410 per hectare, under two different plantation types. "A total relief of Rs 186.25 crore will be given" from the State Disaster Relief Fund, he said.
Noting that the worm originally attacked maize crops in the US but spread to Africa in 2016 and later to Asia in 2018, affecting countries including India, he said he had directed officials concerned to swiftly assess the damage caused to the maize crops. The chief minister further said he has ordered for steps to be taken for the prevention of infestation of the worm, besides creating awareness among farmers.
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