GENET archive


SCIENCE & PLANTS: Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh (India) damaged by sucking insects

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SOURCE: The Hindu, India



DATE:   24.11.2008

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Delayed rains, fertilizer shortage and pests are the factors

Non-availability of fertilizer one of the factors that affected production

Cotton produced in 1.57 lakh hectares in Guntur district

GUNTUR: Cotton farmers in the district are in disquiet at the worrying prospects over a drastic fall in yield. Ironically, the bad news comes at a time when the remunerative price offered for cotton is at its highest, in the last decade. Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) which commenced purchasing of cotton in the district on Friday offered Rs.3,000 per quintal as M.S.P, but the farmers in the district have been distraught at the prospects of a drastic fall in the production.

The agricultural officials and farmers point out two important factors that affected the yield. If the scanty and delayed rainfall hampered the sowing operations, the pest resistant BT cotton crop was ravaged by a variety of pests including, ?Nandedu? pest and ?Pandaku? pest. The non-availability of mixed fertilisers was also another crucial factor that affected the production.

The district, which has been witnessing copious amount of rainfall for the last four years, was hit by scanty and delayed rainfall, which delayed the sowing operations and the fertiliser shortage in June and July had worsened the matters.

?There will be a drastic fall in production. Most of the farmers, who have spent nearly Rs. 25,000 per acre, might not get at least half of the expected yield. The agricultural officials failed to take alert the farmers and take the necessary steps,? said a farmers leader from Ravella village, Komati Sambasiva Rao.

Big draw

Cotton is produced in 1.57 lakh hectares in the district and buoyed up the good harvest and the demand in both domestic and international market, farmers have taken up cultivation of cotton in a big way and some of the chilli farmers too have begun sowing cotton. The BT seed, which was introduced recently, was a big draw and the yield was not less that 15 quintals per acre. With the BT variety proving its disease resistant capabilities, most of the farmers have opted for BT seeds.

However, this time, agricultural officials point out that BT Cotton seed, which had proved its resistance against ?Kaya purugu? had become vulnerable as it was affected by a pest known as ?Rasam purugu? [sucking pest complex]. An agricultural official pointed out that it was too late to act and hoped that the yield might be as less as was being predicted now.



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