Why cotton fail in Punjab during 2015?
Haseeb Jan 8th semester B.Sc (Hons) Entomology
Cotton is a cash crop of Pakistan and back bone of our agriculture. Cotton plays a major role in earning foreign exchange .The cotton crop production accounts for 1.5 percent in GDP and 7.1 percent in agriculture value addition. During July-March 2014-15, textile industry fetched foreign exchange of US$ 10.22 billion. During 2014-15, the cropped area of cotton stood at 2961 thousand hectares, showing an increase of 5.5 percent over last year’s area of 2806 thousand hectares. Cotton production for the year 2014-15 stood at 13.983 million bales against 12.769million bales last year showing an increase of 9.5 percent. The cotton production remained higher since 2004-05 on account of government’s provision of aggressive farmer training for small farmers and extension services of PCCC, allowed Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to procure one million bales of cotton.
But this not remained cash crop in Punjab due to many factors first one is that climatic changes. During last year the pattern of rain fall and humidity favors the cotton white fly development. This pest is very dangerous and have 12 generations in a year. This active throughout the year and have multiple alternative hosts. Once a population of this pest developed then insecticides are also not effectively controlled. But resistance variety was not available against sucking insect pest some work on this done in the CEMB. My coll ague done internship on this but complete success is not achieved. Cotton white fly suck the cell sap and also transmit the disease of cotton leaf curl virus that was also major problem of cotton.
The another problem is pink boll worm (Pectinophora gossypiella) that attacked on the bolls and feed on the lint and seed of the cotton. This pest is also cause the double seed means hibernate and become pupae by joining the two seeds of the cotton and cause next year infestation when sow the seed. Insecticides are also not effective against this pest when the population developed. Resistance varieties BT cotton available but this insect pest produce resistance against this cry1AC gene. Now world moves on the double cross BT cotton but we still grow the single cross BT cotton that was now failed against boll worms. Unjudicious use of insecticides spray is also cause the development of resistance in insects.
Cotton not remained cash crop in Punjab third main reason of this that was the price of cotton. In Punjab the cotton come in market when the peak period of cotton started and price would be low down due to surplus. The cotton of Sindh come in market earlier and get price benefit so cotton still cash crop in Sindh. In my study tour in which i observed the cities Sahiwal, Vehari, Bahawalpur and Multan area. I observed that cotton cultivation area significantly reduced and the area of cultivation of maize greatly increased in Punjab. So , now trends in Punjab moves from cotton to maize to get maximum benefit from crops.