Ludhiana, Sep 28: The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project for cotton being followed in Punjab will now be extended to the cotton growing belt of Vidarbha in Maharashtra.
The IMP model has been jointly developed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT), Mumbai.
This model includes a package of technologies developed by the PAU scientists for the project funded by the SRTT. The focus under the programme remains on maximising cotton yield with minimum use of pesticides.
A group of officials of the Trust and representatives of NGOs of Vidarbha were on a three-day visit to the cotton producing areas of Punjab which are covered under IPM. During their visit, they assessed the impact of the efforts made.
Mr Kiran Petare and Mr Krishnaih-Programme Associates of SRTT were the members of the team that visited the cotton areas of Punjab. The NGO representatives from Vidarbha included Mr Gangadhar Atram, Mr Pravin Kale and Ms Kavita Jhapale.
The team held discussions with the scientific staff of SRTT of PAU led by Dr G S Chahal.
The SRTT along with the Department of Agriculture and the PAU have adopted 224 villages of Punjab for large scale dissemination of IPM technology through a unique approach of hiring young boys of the village as scouts who are trained to guide farmers under the supervision of skilled Field Officers, Consultants of the Trust and officers of the Agriculture Department.
''These efforts have helped keep the menace of mealy bug under control,'' according to Dr Chahal.
Apart from advice on judicious use of pesticides, the farmers are guided for every critical input, as a result of which a majority of cotton growers in adopted villages now sow only the approved varieties of cotton and apply two to three sprays of potassium nitrate to ensure high yield levels through improved plant nutrition.