Infestation of pink bollworm in the cotton cropthere has witnessed a decline, the Centre told Parliament on Friday.

Referring to a survey conducted by the Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), the Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ministry said in a reply in the Rajya Sabha that the infestation has reduced from 30.62 per cent during 2017-18 to 10.80 per cent in 2022-23.

Pink bollworm infestation is seen in all the cotton-growing areas of north, central and south zone across the country, it said.

On the efforts made to address this menace, the Ministry said the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC) — regulatory body for processing of application for grant of registration of insecticides – has granted the registration of 50 insecticide formulations for the control of pink bollworm and bollworm complex.

CIB&RC has also granted the registration of pheromone [PB Rope L (Gossyplure) pheromone dispenser] to monitor and trap the pink bollworm population.

Besides, the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage regularly issues advisories for management of pink bollworm. Farmer field schools on cotton crop are also being conducted on adoption of integrated pest management approaches for management of pink bollworm.

Desi cotton’s tolerance

To a separate query on “desi” cotton, the Ministry said different studies have found that ‘’desi” cotton species Gossypium arboreum is immune to cotton leaf curl virus disease; comparatively tolerant to sucking pests (whitefly, thrips and jassids), and diseases (bacterial blight and alternaria diseases); but susceptible to grey mildew disease. Desi cotton species also show tolerance to moisture stress.

On the staple length, the Ministry’s reply said of the 77 Gossypium arboreum cotton varieties released for commercial cultivation in various cotton growing zones / States of the country, four long linted varieties such as PA 740, PA 810, PA 812 and PA 837, developed by the Parbhani-based Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth (VNMKV), are having 28-31 mm staple length; and rest 73 varieties have staple length in the range of 16-28 mm.

Package for Manipur farmers

To a separate question on compensation for the ethnic violence affected farmers of Manipur, the Ministry’s reply said the Union Home Ministry has approved a special package of ₹209.45 crore to the Manipur government. This includes compensatory package for farmers amounting to ₹38.60 crore.

Referring to the information received from the Manipur government, the reply said agricultural activities could not be initiated on about 5,127 hectares of land due to ethnic violence.

Egg export

Replying to query on the export of Indian egg powder, Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, said there is an increasing trend in the export of egg powder from India.

He said India exported 7,495.01 tonnes of dried eggs valued $38.99 million in 2020-21, 6,973.03 tonnes valued $39.21 million in 2021-22, and 12,085.01 tonnes valued $88.29 million in 2022-23. During the first six months of 2023-24, India’s export of dried eggs stood at 5,689.12 tonnes valued $44.78 million.