Agri Business

Project Bandhan to protect cotton growers from pink bollworm launched in Vidarbha

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on June 10, 2021

The novel PB Knot pheromone technology is easy to use, affordable, and environmentally friendly to manage the PBW.

The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), in collaboration with Agrovision Foundation, Nagpur, has launched an innovative and multi-stakeholder ‘Project Bandhan’ to protect cotton growers from the devastating pink bollworm.

The project aims at demonstrating mating disruption technology, promoting integrated pest management (IPM) based package of practices (POP) developed by ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research, intensifying skill development and training programs and amplifying effective PBW control measures to farmers across the Vidarbha region.

Project Bandhan is supported jointly by PI Foundation and Rasi Seeds Pvt Ltd and is being implemented across Vidarbha, Maharashtra, in partnership with cotton and textile value chain partners.

New hybrid seeds launch

As part of the launching ceremony, Project Bandhan has distributed high-quality Bt cotton hybrid seeds & IPM based POP in four clusters to 500 smallholder farmers of village Adasa/Waroda of Nagpur on Wednesday.

The outbreak of pink bollworm had hit cotton growers hard in Maharashtra in Kharif during 2020-21. There has been a noticeable increase in PBW infestation in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Though large scale Bt cotton cultivation provides in-built protection against notorious American bollworm, the emergence of PBW has become the new enemy of cotton farmers. While the American bollworm infestation resulted in definite yield loss, PBW infestation primarily affects the lint quality. However, its early occurrence may even lead to a reduction in yield and significant losses.

Pre-empting emergence of pink bollworm

“We could pre-empt the emergence of Pink Bollworm in cotton as we began to address its sporadic occurrence in Bt cotton-growing areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra as early as 2015. Contrary to the American Bollworm, we knew that pink bollworm can be easily managed with proper agronomy, the time of sowing and effective pest control measures. We successfully implemented awareness and training programs across Vidarbha in the last 3-4 years, consecutively. The outbreak in 2020 was a wake-up call. We seized the opportunity to roll out innovative and environment-friendly mating disruption technology to manage pink bollworm in Kharif 2021,” said CD Mayee, President, SABC.

Mating disruption is an innovative pheromone-based technique that interferes with the reproductive cycle of PBW in such a manner that the population levels are significantly reduced, and crop damage is diminished, SABC said in a statement.

Pheromone-based technology

The Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) had approved the pheromone-based mating disruption technology in the IPM strategies for controlling the population of PBW in India for the first time in 2019-20. Available in the solid metric dispenser rope (PB Knot), it can be easily tagged to the cotton plant. It releases sex pheromones to prevent the male moth from finding females and mating, disrupting the reproductive cycle. Thus, the mating disruption is emerging as a powerful tool to manage pest such as PBW and has become a part of the IPM module.

“Project Bandhan is an exemplary initiative to promote pheromone-based IPM production system of cotton. The novel PB Knot pheromone technology is easy to use, affordable and environment friendly innovation to manage the PBW,” noted Prashant Hegde, CEO (Agr- Business) at PI Industries Ltd. As part of the CSR initiative, PI Foundation is keen to support the area-wide implementation of Project Bandhan, he said.

“Rasi Seeds Pvt Ltd has been supporting the Pink Bollworm campaign in Vidarbha for the last two years, implemented jointly by the SABC and Agrovision Foundation. Our joint efforts have resulted in the management of Pink Bollworm, particularly in Vidarbha. We reinforce our commitment to support the innovative technology and programs to improve cotton production and farmers’ realization. Project Bandhan is a unique program dedicated to showcase the utility, efficacy of novel mating disruption technology and IPM based production system,” said Ramasami, Chairman of Rasi Seeds Pvt Ltd.

Published on June 09, 2021

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