Fibres and Yarns | News & Insights

Collaborative Government-Private Approach Urged to Combat Pink Bollworm Pest in Northern India

Published: December 18, 2023

In a bid to prevent crop damage caused by the pink bollworm (PBW) pest, an industry expert has emphasized the importance of timely intervention. NK Rajavelu, CEO of Godrej Agrovet’s crop protection division, emphasized that a joint effort between the government and private sector is necessary to increase awareness about the pest and its available solutions.

Rajavelu explained that farmers often become aware of the PBW’s impact only when they observe bolls bursting during harvest time. However, he stressed that the adult moth lays eggs inside flowers during the flowering stage, leading to larvae infestation and subsequent damage. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate this knowledge to farmers early on, he added.

Regarding farmers’ education, Rajavelu suggested that both private companies and government agencies, such as the extension arm of the government, should take responsibility. He proposed implementing programs to help farmers monitor PBW attacks from the beginning. Rajavelu mentioned monitoring mechanisms like observing moth activities, suggesting that farmers can initiate preventive measures such as chemical spraying or the use of pheromones before the pest infestation becomes severe.

Rajavelu also highlighted the impact of the pink bollworm in 2023, which severely damaged cotton crops in northern India due to deficient rainfall. The Agriculture Ministry estimates a 6% decline in cotton production this year, with notable losses of 65% in Haryana and Punjab and 80-90% in Rajasthan.

Looking towards the future, Rajavelu expressed hope in leveraging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and drones to assist farmers in combating pests. He emphasized the need for collaborative efforts between the government and companies to develop such technologies for the benefit of farmers.

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