Punjab goes all-out to save cotton crop from whiteflies

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh ordered the agriculture department to launch an aggressive campaign to prevent any damage to cotton crop by whitefly pest.
The department has deployed 500 scouts and 50 field supervisors to conduct surveys twice a week in each cotton growing village to assess the threat level due to whiteflies.
A state-wide campaign has been launched to counter the threat and the inter-state consultative and monitoring committee, set up under the chairmanship of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) vice-chancellor, is also keeping a close tab on the situation. Scientists from Haryana and Rajasthan are members of the committee, which has so far held four meetings, an official spokesperson said.
Pointing out that the area under cotton this year had increased to 3.82 lakh hectares from 2.85 lakh hectares during kharif 2016, the spokesperson said scouts and field supervisors have been deployed for seven months in the state’s 1,000 cotton-growing villages. The scouts have been allotted two villages each, with six research fellows roped in to support the PAU in the entire exercise.
Besides a weed control campaign launched in February, the agriculture department had constituted district and block level pest surveillance teams to conduct weekly surveys. The PAU had started an awareness campaign through distribution of specially prepared literature to farmers.
In addition, five training camps at village, five at block and two at district levels are being organised throughout the entire cotton season. Demonstrations are being carried out to showcase the latest technology to farmers to help them combat the whitefly menace.
A total of Rs 624.70 crore have been allocated to various schemes launched under the cotton project to ensure protection of the crop from whitefly and other pests.

Source: Indian Express

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