STAFF REPORT IBD: The Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) has surfaced as a major threat to Pakistan’s cotton crop along with other sucking pests, as no cotton variety is available resistant against these diseases.
“Studies on Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton have acknowledged that farmers in Pakistan are not making the most of Bt cotton because the Bt varieties are developed by various private sector plant breeders by transferring Bt trait to locally developed cotton varieties,” the State Bank of Pakistan said in its recent report.
The report said that so there is also no resistance management plan and farmers are encouraged to maintain a refuge area with conventional cotton varieties alongside Bt cotton crop so that resistance in pests may not rekindle over a period of time.
Although higher intensity of insects and pests attacks and poor quality of seeds are the key reasons for low yields, it can be improved with introduction of pest resistive seeds, which likely to have substantial impact on cotton production.
So far the experiments have proved that the use of Bt cotton reduces pesticides and crops gain resistance against the incidence of boll worm, but seeds are costlier and require more water and urea, which itself a costly factor.