Muktsar, July 14
Cotton growers in Muktsar district have started ploughing their crop due to increasing whitefly attack. A farmer Jagroop Singh of Bhundar village, who has ploughed his whitefly-infested cotton crop on two acres, said he had even sprayed pesticide twice as per the recommendation of the Agriculture Department, but to no avail.
“Of total five acres, I had sown cotton crop on two acres after almost a decade. The entire crop was hit after whitefly attack and a virus. So, I ploughed the crop today. I demand compensation from the state government and demand that the authenticity of pesticides and seeds should also be checked,” he said.
Agri officials least concerned
I bought the seeds from a Jagraon-based dealer in April. After two months, I had a doubt over the quality of seeds. Nobody from the Agriculture Department bothered to visit my field. Now, I have no option but to plough my fields. —Charanjit Singh Sandhu, Sakkanwali village
Another farmer Bhupinder Singh of Daula village, too, has ploughed his cotton crop on nearly three acres. Some other farmers are also ready to plough their cotton crop, which is turning black and having a stunted growth.
“A similar situation of 2015 may occur soon when the whitefly had wreaked havoc. The Agriculture Department should take concrete and immediate steps to control the whitefly, else no farmer will sow this cash crop from the next season,” said Gurdeep Singh, also from Daula village.
Notably, the Agriculture Department, too, has found the whitefly above the economic threshold level (ETL) at a number of villages in the district.
Gurpreet Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Muktsar, said: “Our teams recently inspected 142 cotton fields. The whitefly attack was above the ETL in 61 fields. We are regularly appealing to the cotton growers to spray pesticides, but just about 30 per cent of the farmers have acted on our advice.”
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