By admin       2018-08-16

Aug 13, 2018 - Pune: Cotton farmers of Maharashtra and Telangana face potentially huge losses as the respective agricultural departments have observed growing incidence of pink bollworm infestation in parts of the two states. Along with the deficient rainfall, the pest has triggered concern among farmers, even as futures and spot prices of ginned cotton continue to rule firm. “It hasn’t rained in the Khandesh region for the past 25 days. Despite taking all the measures, the attack of pink bollworm pest has increased considerably,” said Pradip Jain, president of Khandesh Ginners Association. According to the agriculture departments, the cotton crop that was sown before June 15 has been infested with pink bollworm above the economic threshold levels. Use of unapproved plant growth regulators and hormones by farmers in the hope of increasing production is also being blamed for the susceptibility of the crop to the pest as it causes unwanted growth of tender leaves, which feed the pest larvae. The decline in rainfall in cotton-growing areas has further aided pest growth. Atul Ganatra, president of Cotton Association of India said, “There has been a large gap in rainfall in MarathwadaNSE 0.00 % and Khandesh regions. Coupled with cloudy conditions, it has led to increased incidence of pink bollworm in parts of Maharashtra and Telangana.” Due to losses suffered in the previous year, a section of cotton farmers shifted to soyabean in the current season. The area under cotton has declined 3% in Maharashtra and that under soyabean has increased 4%. According to the Union agriculture ministry’s data, at all-India level too, the area under cotton has declined about 4% from that a year ago. Although it is too early to estimate the actual decline in crop production, the consensus is that the severity of the incidence is similar to that in the previous year.

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