Pest situation improved, but risks remain for major cotton producers

Pest situation improved, but risks remain for major cotton producers

Whitefly outbreaks have plagued cotton growers around the world in recent yearsWhite fly

Biotech cotton benefitted farmers by reducing the need for insecticide sprays and positively impacted yields without raising the costs of fertilizers and agronomic operations. Leading experts from Burkina Faso, India, Pakistan and the USA expressed in their views in a seminar held during the 75th Plenary Meeting of the ICAC, currently under way in Islamabad, Pakistan, from October 30 to November 4, 2016.

The pink bollworm has developed resistance to the first insect resistant biotech gene, demanding a reversion to older methods of insecticide control. India and Pakistan account for almost 50% of the world cotton area, and the pink bollworm caused huge losses in yield in both countries during 2015. The situation is better in the currently season, but this pest still requires vigilance.

Some sucking pests have also emerged as major pests; the whitefly in particular is becoming of greater concern. Biotech cotton resistant to the whitefly is at advanced stages of development. When commercialized, these new varieties will bring a big relief to growers. Similar progress on transgenic cotton resistant to the leaf curl disease was also reported by experts from Pakistan.

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