Locusts threaten cotton crop in the North

In what could be an early setback for the 2020-21 cotton crop, the desert locusts are observed posing a danger to the fibre crop in North India. Farmers in Rajasthan and elements of Punjab have started off elevating alarm above the locust attack that has started off ravaging their lately-sowed cotton crop.

“Tiddis (locusts) have just about destroyed the refreshing vegetation of the cotton plants. The scenario is poor in northern and western Rajasthan. The plantation is just at the early phase and if immediate motion is not taken, the damage will spread above to other districts,” said Dalveer Singh, a farmer from western Rajasthan. Cotton farms in the northern districts of Shri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Gharsana and Rawla among others have been impacted. The specific acreage impacted is not recognised.

Farmers in Punjab have also expressed fears of an attack. Talking to BusinessLine, Ashwani Jhamb, a farmer from Punjab, said, “The cotton plants have grown to just 6-nine inches. So far, we haven’t observed any substantial-scale attack in the Condition, but there are fears that it may perhaps flip in the direction of Punjab next month or so. If it happens, it will be disastrous for cotton growers.”

Just about eighty per cent sowing has been completed in North India. Very last year, cotton was planted on about 17 lakh hectares in these States. The planting started off in April. The North zone accounts for 17 per cent of the country’s overall 330 lakh bales (each individual of 170 kg) of generation.

In look at of the vulnerability of the cotton crop to feasible locust attack, the Cotton Association of India (CAI) has published to the Centre for immediate measures to handle the menace.

CAI has published to the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in search of urgent measures “for controlling these locusts’ attacks and also remember to suggest the involved central and point out federal government companies to concern necessary guidelines to the farmers in purchase to secure their desire and jointly combat against this menace,” Atul Ganatra, President, CAI said in the letter sent on Tuesday.

In a separate letter to the Union Minister for Textiles, Smriti Irani, Ganatra also requested the Ministry to initiate correct measures “to get rid of the locusts’ attacks, which are producing havoc in some elements of our region.”

Locust existence is spotted in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. These States generate about 236.5 lakh bales or 71 per cent of the country’s overall cotton generation believed for 2019-twenty.

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