Punjab Agriculture Department on Tuesday asked the State’s farmers to use pesticides to control damage to the standing cotton crop that has been hit by whitefly attack.

“Due to unseasonal rains this year, the attack of whitefly pest on cotton crop has taken serious proportions…Cotton cultivation is encouraged under crop diversification program and the farmers are regularly educated about the crop, pests that attack it and the solution to problem,” said the state agriculture director Mangal Singh Sandhu.

Sandhu said that the farmers of cotton growing region can use Central Insecticide Board recommended pesticides for whitefly and mealy bug attack, including Oberon pesticides of Bayer and Do Tara medicine of the Pioneer company. Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has also recommended these medicines, he said.

He said that as per the Centre’s guidelines, the cotton region farmers are provided these medicines at 50 per cent subsidy.

“Before providing these to the farmers, the batch-wise samples of pesticides are tested for their quality at Pesticide Testing Laboratory and then distributed to them,” he said.

The agriculture department is promoting judicious use of these pesticides through pamphlets, newspaper advertisements, radio, television and announcements are being made in villages through temples and gurudwaras.

He added that to save the crop, it was recommended to spray four to five times the recommended medicines. “For this, the agriculture department staff members in field are educating farmers at district, block and village level and the farmer have also been included in it. The farmers should also educate their fellow farmers about the ways to control to pests in cotton fields,” he said.

Earlier, CM Parkash Singh Badal had conducted a meeting regarding whitefly attack.

Source: 02 September, 2015, The Pioneer