A central government team of five officials will visit Punjab in the next two days to assess the impact of whitefly attack on cotton crop in the state for the second straight year, the Union agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.
Whitefly has caused damage to the kharif crop in the flowering stage; and a few pockets of Fazilka, Mansa and Bathinda districts are facing the menace, an official statement said.
In Punjab, 1.36 lakh hectares out of total 4.5 lakh hectares of cotton was ravaged by whitefly last season and the output dropped 40%.
Because of the fear of whitefly, cotton sowing in Punjab in the current season shrunk to 2.56 lakh hectares.
This time, the whitefly attack was spotted on cotton crop planted near orchards in Abohar, known for kinnow fruit. Training programmes were conducted in cotton-growing areas, persuading growers to timely sow recommended varieties of crop, along with other steps to prevent damage.
Besides, the state hired 500 trained men and women for educating growers.