Chandigarh, Aug 30 (PTI) Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal on Sunday said officials of his department are monitoring the incidence of whitefly attacks in cotton-producing districts, such as Hisar and Sirsa. With a view to protect cotton crops from whitefly attack during the Kharif season, the agriculture and farmers' welfare department has advised farmers to take precautionary measures, including using botanical remedies such as neem oil solution and monitoring the occurrence of the pests, he said.
'Officials of the department are monitoring the incidence of whitefly in districts of Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Bhiwani, which constitute 80 per cent of area under cotton in the state,' the minister said.
'Scientists from the Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hisar, have also visited fields in different districts to take stock of the situation and suggest measures,' Dalal said, as per an official statement.
To prevent further infestation, the department has issued an advisory comprising measures suggested by HAU, the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Sirsa, and the Bayer Crop Science.
These measures include installation of 40 to 50 low-cost yellow sticky traps per acre.
The advisory also states that up to 70 days after sowing, farmers may apply two sprays of an emulsion comprising one per cent neem oil and 0.05 to 0.10 per cent laundry detergent.
Cotton is being cultivated in about 7.36 lakh hectares in 14 districts across the state during Kharif-2020.
Districts of Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Bhiwani are leading in cotton cultivation this season with 2.10 lakh hectares, 1.47 lakh hectares, 0.72 lakh hectares, 0.70 lakh hectares and 0.88 lakh hectares, respectively, under the cash crop.
The whitefly acts as a vector in the spread of leaf curl virus disease, and is a migratory insect, making its control very difficult.
Excessive attack of this insect turns green cotton leaves black, thus hampering the photosynthesis process and significantly reducing the yield and quality of the produce.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has demanded a compensation of at least Rs 30,000 per acre for farmers affected by wilting and white fly disease “which have destroyed cotton crops across the state'.
'This has caused great economic loss to the farmers. Therefore, the government should compensate them by getting a special Girdawari (revenue survey) done, without any further delay,' the Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana assembly demanded.
Hooda said farmers spared no expenses to get good cotton yield, but the disease destroyed everything, before the crop was ready.
In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the government to give proper compensation to farmers, he said. PTI SUN ANB ANB