KRRS cautions farmers against cultivating cotton

Big loss:More than 80 p.c. of cotton has been destroyed by pink bollworm attack.— file PHOTO

Big loss:More than 80 p.c. of cotton has been destroyed by pink bollworm attack.— file PHOTO  

With more than 80 per cent of cotton destroyed in the last crop cycle due to pink bollworm attack in the State, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) has called upon farmers to not go for cotton cultivation in the next kharif season.

Chamarasa Malipatil, State president, KRRS, advised farmers to instead opt for cereals and pulses whose cultivation cost was less than cotton. “The pest has developed resistance to Bt toxin. Moreover, the price for cotton is expected to fall further considering the government decision to slash import duties as per WTO norms. We, therefore, advise farmers to keep away from cotton cultivation,” he said.

He added that the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments had officially advised their farmers not to go for cotton cultivation in the next season.

“Our State government has not come up with any such advise to safeguard Bt cotton seed producers,” he said. Mr. Malipatil expressed discontentment against the State government for not taking any action against the Bt cotton seed producers whose claims of pest-resistance turn out to be “hoax”. “The cotton seed producers had, in the manual supplied with seed pockets, claimed that their Bt technology would provide protection from pests, including pink bollworm. However, it is the same pink bollworm that destroyed the crop. Yet, the government has neither taken action against seed producers nor compelled them to provide compensation to farmers,” he said.

In Raichur district alone, cotton was cultivated on over 2.5 lakh acres in the last kharif season, of which 95 per cent was Bt variety. Majority of the Bt cotton crop was destroyed in the pest attack.

According to a report prepared by agricultural scientists of University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, the estimated destruction of Bt was around 40 to 50 per cent in rain-fed areas and 60 to 70 per cent in irrigated areas.

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