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Pests hit cotton crop in Gujarat, Maharashtra

Cotton growers in Maharashtra are facing the same problems as their counterparts in Gujarat—a low remunerative price and a widespread attack of pink bollworm on Bt cotton. The bonus of Rs 500 does not seem to have helped much in Gujarat which means distress level among cotton growers in Maharashtra, who have not been given such bonus, could be higher.

A severe spell of pink bollworm attack has caused damages worth Rs 10,000 crores to cotton growers in Maharashtra. The pink bollworm attack has damaged nearly 40 per cent of the estimated crop. The GM variety of Bollgard II has lost much of its resistance to pest attacks.

Gujarat had announced in October a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal for cotton over and above the minimum support price of Rs 4,020 per quintal for the small staple variety, Rs 4,270 for the medium staple, and Rs 4,320 for the long staple.

Gujarat is India’s top cotton producing state, accounting for nearly 25 per cent of the national yield. Cotton is grown on over 2.7 million hectares in Gujarat. Though Maharashtra has a larger acreage under cotton—normally 3.8 million hectares but 4.2 million hectares this year—it has lower productivity.