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Pests harm cotton prospects in India this season

Floods and pests have damaged cotton fields across India. While a substantial cotton area has come under whitefly attack in Punjab and Haryana, pink bollworm has attacked the standing crop in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Floods have wrecked Gujarat. So cotton production in India may fall drastically.

Farmers who shifted from pulses such as pigeon pea and green gram and edible oilseeds to cotton for better realisation would certainly be disappointed with a possible decline in their income this year due to the low cotton output. Whitefly has affected around 15,000 hectares of the cotton crop in Haryana, the state which witnessed a record 25 per cent increase in sowing area till July-end.

Maharashtra has ordered seed firms to pay a compensation of Rs 36,83,000 to farmers in the state. High yielding cotton seeds with Bt technology which are claimed to have protection from bollworm helped farmers increase their income in the initial years of their launch. But the cotton crop in India has nevertheless witnessed sporadic attacks of bollworms in the last few years.

Meanwhile, many hybrid seed companies are studying to introduce seeds which promise to improve crop productivity. Farmers are looking for high yielding seeds.

 
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