Experts rushed to whitefly-hit cotton areas

After whitefly was spotted recently on the cotton crop in Punjab, where the pest had done extensive damage to the crop last year, the Union Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday constituted a team of five experts to assess the situation.

“A few areas in Fazilka, Mansa and Bathinda districts are facing the whitefly menace. Hence, a team is being sent to Punjab,” said a statement from the Ministry.

The team, headed by S.N. Sushil, Plant Protection Adviser at the Directorate of Plant Protection, Faridabad, will visit the affected areas within two days.

The pest caused extensive damage to Bt. cotton varieties last year in Punjab and Haryana, bringing the production down by nearly 40 per cent. Bt. cotton accounted for over 98 per cent of the cotton sown last year in both States. The rest was the indigenous varieties.