06 September 2021, Maharashtra: Mr. Sunil Chatrapal Kedar, Hon’ble Cabinet Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Sports and Youth Welfare of Government of Maharashtra flagged off PBW knowledge campaign during the farmers’ mela held at APMC Yard, Kalmeshwar taluka of Maharashtra on 5 Sept 2021.
More than 1000 cotton farmers participated in launching ceremony as part of a multi-stakeholder “Project Bandhan: A Knot of PBW Protection” implemented by South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), Jodhpur and Agrovision Foundation, Nagpur and supported by PI Foundation and Rasi Seeds Pvt Ltd. The PBW knowledge campaign float carries digital PBW extension system, posters and leaflets & training materials and would travel across key cotton growing districts of Vidarbha to share critical knowledge with smallholders to protect the cotton from devastating pink bollworm.
The Project Bandhan is successfully carrying out “first-of-its-kind” field experiment laid out over 300 acres in 5 clusters of cotton fields in Kharif 2021 at villages Waroda and Adasa of Kalmeshwar taluka and Methpanjara of Katol taluka, Nagpur District of Maharashtra. A team of cotton entomologists oversee the progress of PBKnot mating disruption technology under the technical supervision of ICAR-CICR, Nagpur.
While appreciating PBW mating-disruption project being implemented in his constituency, Mr. Sunil Chatrapal Kedar, Hon’ble Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Sports and Youth Welfare of Government of Maharashtra called on the agri-institutions to vigorously engage in extension of knowledge, on & off-farm training and awareness of cotton technologies. “The infestation of PBW in 2017-18 is fresh in our memory and we must be prepared to deal with imminent threat of PBW in this season and the subsequent cotton seasons”, lauded Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Mr. Sunil Kedar.
Minister Sunil Kedar emphasized that the agriculture and smallholder farmers are the bedrock of economy growth and rural development of India. He directed key stakeholders including officials and extension system to increase reach to smallholders as “well-to-do” farmers are already ahead in technology adoption curve. While assuring the support of State Govt, Minister Sunil Kedar promised to visit field experiment of PBW mating disruption under Project Bandhan as targeted villages fall in his constituency and would take first-hand feedback from cotton farmers.
Dr CD Mayee, President of South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) alerted farmers to remain vigilant about Pink Bollworm (PBW) and follow IPM based protocol for management of the pest. He advised farmers to closely monitor crop, undertake application of neem-based biopesticides and microbial and avoid unnecessary spraying of pesticides.
The large-scale experiment of the PBKnot application carried out under Project Bandhan is to gather realistic & multivariant field data of the mating disruption technology as Bt cotton has become a target of mysterious pest pink bollworm. In absence of approval of new Bt based traits in cotton, the smallholder farmers are facing enormous challenges of abiotic and biotic stresses in the crucial time of flowering, boll formation upto boll maturity and hence vulnerable to crop and income losses.”, said Bhagirath Choudhary, Director of South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), Jodhpur.
Dr YG Prasad, Director of ICAR-Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur shared the preparedness of CICR in managing Pink Bollworm such as development of pheromone lure for monitoring and mass trapping, issuing technical advisory and weekly alerting farmers by voice messaging and providing technical support to the PBW mating disruption project.
Mr. Prashant Hegde, CEO (Agri Business) at PI Industries Ltd talked about the importance of PBKnot mating disruption technology as a complimentary tool to manage PBW in cotton. He informed that the PBKnot technology has been thoroughly evaluated in different states and has obtained necessary approval from the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare of Govt of India.
While Dr Rajinder Gade, Director (extension) of Dr PDKV, Akola highlighted activities on PBW at different KVKs, Dr. D. B. Undirwade, cotton entomologist of Dr PDKV, Akola explained the life cycle, damage symptoms and control measures of pink bollworm. He also alerted farmers to remain vigilant as weather is becoming favourable post-rainfall for emergence of PBW pupae to adults for mating and egg laying.
The Pink Bollworm knowledge campaign program was attended by Baba Kodhe, President of Kalmeshwar Taluka Sahkari Kharedi Vikri Samiti; Baba Patil, Sabhapati, APMC Kalmeshwar; Ravi Boratkar, Ramesh Mankar, Rahul Panchbhai & Kamlesh Thalal of Agrovision Foundation; Dr Sandip Agale and Dr AppalaRaju of South Asia Biotechnology Centre; Dr Ramakrishna, Dr Babasaheb Fand, Dr Shailash Gawande and Dr Pooja Verma of ICAR-CICR; Dr SR Kalbande of Dr PDKV; Dr DM Panchbhai, Dr Subhash Potdukhe, Dr BS Khavale and Dr Harish Sawai of College of Agriculture, Nagpur; Sudhir Dive, Anandrao Rawat, Milind Tichkule, Prashant Kukade, Sridhar Takhare, Prashant Vasade, Vijay Jadhav and local panchayat and jila parishad members of Kalmeshwar taluka of Nagpur, Maharashtra.