By admin       2018-08-27

As many as 700 villages in Maharashtra have officially confirmed that the outbreak of the pink bollworm infestation on cotton crops has crossed the “economic threshold limit”, a Agriculture department official said here today. An economic threshold is the insect’s population level or extent of crop damage at which the value of the crop destroyed exceeds the cost of controlling the pest. The crossing of the threshold means that a sizable amount of the crop may be lost to the pest, according to the official. He said cotton is generally sown in 21,000 villages in the state. “This year, 39.7 lakh hectares of area has been brought under the cotton cultivation, compared to the last year’s 41.1 lakh hectares,” he said. The economic threshold limit is a parameter used to assess the outbreak of the pest. “This limit is crossed in the 700 villages which are mainly from Marathwada, Vidarbha and north Maharashtra regions,” the official said. He said Agriculture department has already set up district-level committees comprising local officials in view of the pink bollworm infestation. “The state had produced 372 lakh bales of cotton in year 2017. Going by the outbreak and possible damage to the crops, the production could be around 365 lakh bales this year. There has been an urgent and mass-scale plan that would put a check on possible damage to the plants,” he said. When contacted, State Agriculture Commissioner Sacchindra Pratap Singh said he was closely monitoring the situation. “I am monitoring the daily updates related to cotton crop, as it is one of the important cash crops in the state. We have issued several key instructions to our teams as well as to farmers,” he said.

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