Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are suffering losses due to the whitefly attack on the cotton crop. Punjab and Haryana together account for about 11-12% of country's total cotton output, however, there could be a drop in average yields because of the pest attack. Around 5.80 lakh hectares of area in Haryana is under cotton cultivation while in Punjab it is 4.50 lakh hectares this season.
Whitefly attacks the leaves of cotton plants and pesticides have not been able to treat the attack. It is alleged that the pesticides failed to protect the crop due to poor quality. As a result, in recent days some farmers in that region have pulled out the cotton crops in order to grow other crops.
Farmers have suffered losses to the tune of Rs700 crore due to damage to cotton crop across the cotton belt comprising Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Barnala, Fazilka and other adjoining areas.
Hot weather in the absence of rain led to the growth of pest and there is possibility of pest getting spread to other states which could make the situation worse for other farmers.
Camps are being organized in the villages and farmers are told to use recommended pesticides, but that is only a short-term solution, said an official from the Punjab agriculture department.
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