After the Punjab government, the Indian Cotton Association Limited (ICAL) is going to spread awareness among farmers on effectively fighting off whitefly attack during the upcoming kharif season.
A special seminar on awareness about the pest and the best practices for growing cotton will be held at Abohar on March 21, in which cotton growers from Bathinda, Abohar, Fazilka, Ganganagar, Mansa, Ferozepur, Sirsa and Fatehabad will participate.
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor BS Dhillon will be the chief guest on the occasion.
ICAL president Mahesh Sharda said the initiative is being taken to educate the cotton farmers as how to deal with the challenge of whitefly attack in the region.
“The farmers must learn to tackle the pest as they incurred huge losses due to the whitefly attack last year. The awareness camp will provide handy information to farmers on protecting their cotton crop from any sort of pest attack so that they get good price during the harvest season,” Sharda said.
The camp is being jointly organised by the Northern India Textile Mills Association, Indian Society for Cotton Improvement, Mumbai and leading cotton seed producers.
ICAL secretary Jatinder Singh said the livelihood of cotton farmers in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan was hit by the pest attack besides causing loss to the cotton industry.
“We have been repeatedly appealing to all cotton traders, ginners, exporters to come forward and help the cotton farmer who is the backbone of the value chain,” he said.
“The ICAL has estimated that the whitefly attack damaged 40 per cent of cotton crop in Punjab, and nearly 30% in Haryana,” he said.
The Punjab government has already prepared a seven-month plan to tackle the whitefly attack. The plan envisages removal of whitefly-infested weeds across the cotton belt, holding technical training and awareness camps at the time of purchase of seeds and sowing, interactive sessions with farmers to get fresh details on crop health.