The government of India is taking proactive measures to combat likely whitefly infestations in the country’s cotton-producing Northern States.
Last year, excessive damage occurred to the cotton crop in the Northern States of Punjab and Haryana.
According to a recent estimate by Mumbai-based Cotton Association of India, the northern zone – consisting of the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan – is expected to produce a total of four million bales (170 Kgs each) this season (October 2015-September 2016), which is less than the last season’s (2014-15) production of 5.4 million bales.
The Central Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry of India issued directives related to planting cotton in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, according to a statement from the government on March 28.
That directive stipulated an early April sowing timeframe in the three states where the likelihood of white fly infestation is high. The Ministry of Agriculture has directed farmers to use only certain seeds, and monitoring the movement of pests has been highly recommended. Timely use of pesticides to combat the infestation has been advised.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the research arm of the Ministry, is helping farmers select suitable seeds and is providing a list of pest-resistant seeds for the farmers’ benefit.