MULTAN: Cotton growers have saved Rs 40 billion by using less pesticide sprays this year on the directives of the South Punjab Agriculture Department.
According to officials more than 15 million bales can be obtained by implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) model. Reportedly, the growers would sow cotton on more than seven million acres next year.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Challenges in Cotton Production and Strategies for the Future’, South Punjab Agriculture Secretary Saqib Ali Ateel said due to low use of pesticides on cotton crop this year, farmers have saved about Rs 40 billion.
He said with the implementation of IPM model, the cotton crop has become 115pc profitable. Next year, cotton will be cultivated on more than seven million acres in Punjab. By implementing the IPM model, they can get more than 15 million bales.
He said the use of bio-pesticides and implementation of IPM model has significantly reduced the cost of cotton cultivation. In south Punjab alone, 57 percent less pesticides have been used on the cotton crop this year, which has saved farmers about Rs 40 billion.
The secretary said 120 cotton demonstration plots were set up in 41 tehsils of 11 districts of south Punjab during the cotton season where the IPM model was fully implemented. The average yield from IPM demonstration plots in South Punjab was 34.23 maunds per acre. Many plots have yielded 40 maunds and some plots have produced more than 50 maunds per acre of cotton which is a clear indication that Better yields can be achieved by implementing IPM.
He further said that a large number of farmers were also advised to adopt IPM model. The farmers cooperated in this regard and following the recommendations of the Department of Agriculture, South Punjab.
He said delay the chemical spray on the cotton crop from the outset as much as possible and used bio-pesticides as an alternative to control the pests. He saidthe farmers who ignored the departmental recommendations and applied chemical sprays not only increased the pest pressure on their crops but also affected the yield.
On the other hand, farmers who have implemented IPM tools have seen a reduction in the cost per acre of cultivation as well as improved yields, which has made cotton a profitable crop for them after many years.
He said the IPM has emerged as a successful model as low cost cultivation and higher profits have encouraged farmers and farmers have reiterated that they will cultivate cotton in maximum area in future. This will not only make the farmer prosperous but will also enable the revival of cotton and further strengthen the national economy, he added.