By admin       2018-05-24

Gujarat’s success in controlling pink bollworm’s resistance to Bt cotton has caught the attention of Maharashtra, a major cotton producing state. There is a general consensus among the industry people that if Gujarat could control the pest attack, Maharashtra could take the same route. This season, cotton ginners in Maharashtra have decided to take the lead and go to farmers persuading them to adopt good practices for cotton cultivation. The Khandesh Gin/Press Factory Owners Association has begun an aggressive campaign in Jalgaon — a major cotton producing belt in the state — with the help of major cotton institutes, including the the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC). Dr CD Mayee, president, SABC visited Jalgaon to tell farmers on how to go about preventing any form of pest attack. More such campaigns will be held across Khandesh region and a ‘Cotton Recipe Book’ is being published soon for farmers before sowing begins. The book will contain details on what goes into the making of a good healthy crop and farmers will be advised on good practices from the day of the sowing operations on maintaining distance between two saplings to the use of herbicides, fertilisers and duration of the crop itself, Pradeep Jain, president, Khandesh Gin/Press Factory Owners Association said. The book also provides for helpline for farmers with phone numbers so that they can speak personally with experts on issues related to his crop, he added. Villages will be advised to go in for one or two varieties of cotton, to go for pickings at the same time, retain cotton only for 140 days so that the pest does not proliferate and also use Phermone traps in case the problem gets serious. Farmers are told to terminate the standing cotton crop before end of February to break the life cycle of the pink bollworm, The recipe books will be distributed through ginning units to farmers. This is the first time, the association has come out with a book of this nature. For the last couple of years, cotton ginners in Maharashtra had begun an effort in the state to improve productivity of cotton after they discovered that cotton from Gujarat commanded a higher price. What began as an effort to mentor some 40 farmers in 10 talukas of Jalgaon district, resulted in 50-70% improvement in productivity. The yield which was usually 8-10 quintals, rose to more than 15 quintals. With sowing expecting to commence by May 30, the association has repeated the effort this year along with more focus on pink bollworm this season. “This is an effort to increase awareness among farmers and we have succeeded to some extent,” Jain said, adding that the association has brought in in experts and stakeholders including more seed companies and fertiliser firms to advise farmers.

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