1. Agriculture World

Farmers Panic as Pink Bollworm Attack on Cotton Reaches Alarming Levels in Punjab

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Pink Bollworm attack on cotton crop

The pink bollworm attack on Punjab's cotton crop has turned out to be far worse than expected. It has created problems in almost one-fourth of the area in the largest cotton-growing districts of Bathinda and Mnasa, despite the fact that the attack had previously been felt in approximately 10-15% of the land in these areas.

Pest attacks have also spoiled crops in the border districts of Fazika and Muktsar, but to a lesser extent.

Damage has been determined to be above 50% in several districts in Bathinda, Maur, and Sangar blocks, with some areas reaching 60-70 percent, as even state agricultural department officials have conceded. The ETL has been determined to be greater than 10 adults per leaf, with a permitted limit of up to five adults.

Farmers are worried as the pink bollworm infestation has reached alarming levels, resorting to even un-recommended sprays in an attempt to eradicate it, but not getting any relief. In Punjab, cotton was planted on 3.04 lakh hectares, with 1.70 lakh hectares (56 percent of the total) in these two districts. The attack was first spotted in Bathinda and Mansa in the final week of August, but it was unable to be contained in almost a month and has instead been growing by the day.

Gurcharan Singh of Mansa's Bhamme Khurd village ploughed his cotton crop on two acres on Wednesday. Gurcharan stated that after more spraying, the insect lingered and harmed the crop. He ploughed the crop because he had no other choice. “The pink bollworm attack is widespread, and if it is not stopped as soon as possible, other farmers may follow suit, and because there is no time left to plant another crop other than wheat in a month's time, farmers would face enormous losses.” We want the government to completely compensate farmers for the harm caused by pest attacks,” said Ram Singh Bhainibagha, district president of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) Mansa.

Officials from the state agricultural department are also on their toes. On Wednesday, the director of the department visited a number of villages in Bathinda.

“We had a survey done last week, and today I went to the villages where crop damage was found to be the worst. The extent of the devastation varies from village to village and field to field. Overall, there may be more than 15% in Bathinda and Mansa, and there have been no reports of damage from Fazilka or Muktsar. Farmers are being advised to use sprays,” said department director Sukhdev Singh.

“Over ten pests have been discovered in several plants and throughout the field, causing severe crop damage.” We used sprays, but the pest is still present and eating the plants,” said farmers Mohinder Singh and Gurdev Singh of Bathinda's village Jai Singh Wala.

Farmers from Bathinda's Sangat area are concerned about a 2015 reset. They recalled the cotton crop damage six years ago. Then, the white fly attack caused enormous damage to the cotton crop, with over 60% of the crop destroyed owing to severe pest attack, and many farmers facing losses took their own deaths.

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