Adilabad: The very word - pink bollworm - is sending shivers down the spine of cotton farmers, who had earlier faced trouble with gram caterpillar and tobacco caterpillar, prior to the advent of Bt Cotton.
With the arrival of Bt Cotton on the scene, the farmers could effectively deal with the gram caterpillar and tobacco caterpillar and other pests that are common to cotton crop and reaped good harvest.
But now the pink bollworm has become a nightmare to farmers. Normally cotton will be cultivated in five lakh acres in Adilabad, Mancherial, Nirmal and Asifabad districts.
According to latest reports, the pink bollworm has attacked crop at several places. The problem is severe, especially in Tamsi, Talamadugu, Bela and Jainath mandals of Adilabad district.
The pest attack is alarmingly high with each passing day in Kerameri, Vankidi, Sirpur and Bejjur mandals in Asifabad district. The worm is destroying the flowers as they appear.
If the worm progresses further, it will destroy the pod also, burdening the farmers with an additional expenditure of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per acre to buy pesticides. Without any choice, they are borrowing money to buy pesticide.
According to a farmer, Rajanna of Ponnari village, he spent at least Rs 4,000 in a month to apply pesticide to the crop. He blamed the unscrupulous traders selling spurious pesticides for the losses in cotton crop.
Another farmer, Karunakar Reddy of Kapparla, doubted whether he would be able to harvest any crop at all as the pink bollworm’s attack is fiercer this time compared to last time.
The scientists have been advocating ways to contain the pest. Since there is still a long way to go (45 days) to harvest the crop, they are advocating installation of nets to entice insects.
When the pink bollworms fall into the net then the relevant pesticide should be applied and advocated neem oil is very effective in the case.
Thiodicarb is also very effective in tackling the worm, the scientists said cautioning the farmers against indiscriminate use of pesticide as it would encourage other pests to attack the crop.