The Centre has issued directives to cotton-producing states like Punjab and Haryana to ensure timely sowing of the crop and use of only recommended seeds for preventing whitefly attack, which caused significant damage to the crop last year.
States have been directed to keep a close watch on the movement of whitefly and ensure timely sprinkling of pesticides to check its menace.
“Union agriculture and farmers’ welfare ministry has issued extensive directives to the states producing cotton to check the adverse effect of whitefly on cotton,” an official statement saidon Monday.
The directives have been issued in view of the “likely menace to cotton in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan from whitefly,” it said.
The agriculture ministry has taken various preventive measures, which include elaborate assessment and analysis about the loss inflicted last year.
The Central Cotton Research Regional Centre, Sirsa, recently held a meeting with officials of the agriculture ministry, scientists of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and senior officials of departments of agriculture from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to look into the matter.
“After the review, the Centre has forwarded extensive directives to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The directives say the sowing process may be carried out within the precincts of scheduled timeframe, only recommended seeds may be used, close watch be kept on the movement of pests and timely sprinkling be done to check its spread,” the statement said.
ICAR has also provided a list of the pest-resistant seeds for the farmers. This year, emphasis is being given on the timely sowing of cotton.
The sowing process of cotton would set in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan from the beginning of April.
India’s cotton output is estimated to be 353 lakh bales for the 2015-16 season, which began on October 1, as against 383 lakh bales in the previous year, according to Cotton Association of India (CAI).
Crop damage in the northern region due to the whitefly attack this year remains a cause of concern, CAI had said.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Haryana government had announced a compensation of Rs 967 crore for farmers whose cotton crop was damaged due to the whitefly and leaf curl virus attack during last kharif season.