Chandigarh, 18 August(Wishav Warta): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has asked the Agriculture Department to adopt plots with cotton crops damaged by whitefly in every village of the four districts of Mansa, Bathinda, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Fazilka, which collectively account for the highest production of cotton in the state. He directed the department to use these plots as demonstration farms to educate farmers about Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an official spokesperson disclosed after a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, to take stock of the situation arising out of the whitefly infestation.
The Chief Minister directed that the demonstration farms be used to educate the cotton growers about the latest technology for the protection of their crop from pests and insects, particularly whitefly. A total of 1000 such demonstration farms would be adopted by the agriculture department, said the spokesperson, adding that scouts and field staff, in consultation with agriculture development officers and agriculture officers, would impart basic training for use of recommended pesticides and insecticides, besides proper application of chemical fertilizers and manures, at these demo centres. These centres would go a long way in restoring the confidence of farmers affected by whitefly.
Deputy Commissioners and Chief Agriculture Officers from seven districts, viz Mansa, Bathinda, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Fazilka, Sangrur, Barnala and Faridkot in Malwa region, participated in the meeting, convened by the Chief Minister to follow up on his last week’s visit to Mansa region. The meeting was informed that merely 18.1 hectares of area out of the total 3.82 lac hectares under cotton cultivation had been damaged by whitefly. In Bathinda, the affected area was a mere 3.6 hectares out of the total 1,40,000 hectares, 10.2 hectares out of 86,010 hectares in Mansa, and 1.6 hectares out of 64,608 in Sri Muktsar Sahib. In Fazilka, damage due to whitefly was just 2% out of total 74,655 hectares and 0.7% out of 5460 hectares in Barnala. No loss was reported due to whitefly infestation in Sangrur, Faridkot and Moga.The Chief Minister made it clear at the meeting that no laxity would be tolerated on the issue of
The Chief Minister made it clear at the meeting that no laxity would be tolerated on the issue of sale of spurious or substandard pesticides to the farmers. He directed the officials to crack down on suppliers of such pesticides and ensure exemplary punishment to them