Bollworms continue to threaten India's cotton production
today Jan 22, 2018
India’s cotton production is experiencing challenges from the pink bollworm pest, as well as fluctuating prices and low quality pesticides. Farmers are hoping for a solution before India’s cotton production loses out.
The Indian cotton producing industry is currently experiencing its biggest threat since 2002 when Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) partnered with Monsanto (US) to introduce the genetically engineered and insect-repellent Bt cotton.
Since then, cotton production has been booming in India, but the seeds gradually became less effective in repelling bollworms and the situation has now reached a head.
“Before the pink bollworm menace, we used to produce 800 kg per bigha (2.5 bigha is equal to one acre), now we produce only 500-600 kg,” said farmer Chandubhai Patel showing that the effects are truly tangible.
According to the Cotton Corporation of India, Gujarat is the largest producer out of the nine cotton producing states in the country. The Gujarati city of Saurashtra accounts for 70 percent of the state’s cotton production and is a major hub for the industry.
However, the city’s cotton production is currently threatened by the bollworm pest. In order to combat this, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) held a meeting to find a solution but so far, no concrete plan has been rolled out.
There has been worrying news that the pink bollworm is now resistant to the genetically engineered Bt cotton, as discovered by Dr LK Dhaduk and his team of ten cotton researchers. Farmers are now hoping for a new seed to hit the market that is more resistant but this does not appear to be a long term solution.
The government’s “Make in India” campaign is championing domestic production, especially in the textile sector, and so it is imperative that the matter is solved.
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