Cotton sowing in the district is up by 6%. Against the normal of 2.40 lakh hectares, the sowing recorded in 2019 was 2.54 lakh hectares.
In 2018, owning to rain failure, the sowing registered was only about 2.26 lakh hectares, and of that, the authorities expect that about 30% of the crop had failed.
According to the Joint Director of Agriculture Department, P. Wilson, the increase in the area sown is due to rains received in the second fortnight of August. “We expect the crop to not fail as there was adequate rain in the district,” Mr. Wilson added.
The authorities have also started taking measures in order to contain the menace of Pink Bollworm. The bollworm lays eggs in the cotton boll and after the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the cotton, which causes significant damage to the crop.
In order to reduce the prevalence of this worm, the authorities would soon start distributing traps in a bid to capture the male pink bollworms. “The traps would come with two lures that would attract the male pink bollworms by giving out the scent of a female pink bollworm,” said Mr. Wilson.
The method would stop the population from increasing as there would be no male bollworms to mate with the female bollworms. “This would also let us know the extent of the population of the bollworms, and the intensity of the infestation,” Mr. Wilson added.
Once the intensity of the infestation is understood, farmers could then spray crop with natural pesticide, generally neem extract, so that the bollworms do not attack the crops.
The authorities would be giving out one trap and two lures to farmers at a subsidy of 90%. While the trap and the lures are priced ₹35, owing to the subsidy, they only cost ₹3.5.
“Because it is the flowering season, we have planned to distribute about 2.40 lakh traps and 4.80 lakh lures,” the Joint Director said.
In the first phase, the officials would be distributing over 80,000 traps and over 1.60 lakh lures.