Caterpillars devastate Indias cotton

09 June 1998

Caterpillars devastate Indias cotton

INDIA is under siege from the spread of caterpillars as pesticides fail to contain their growth.

Indian farmers sprayed pesticides on their cotton crops up to 20 times a season last year often using cocktails of seriously toxic chemicals. But it has been to little effect. Some 141 farmers were driven to suicide in Andhra Pradesh and Mahrashtra.

Encouraging trials are running in some areas by using, for example, a range of practices such as the use of resistant varieties, seed treatments, selection and limited spraying of particular pesticides only when pest numbers are high, and the alternation of chemicals that work in different ways to avoid the build-up of resistance.

  • Financial Times 09/06/98 page 34

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