Over 100 women farmers have come together to reduce the impact of whiteflies on cotton crops. They have started a campaign to spread awareness about natural sprays to get rid of the pests and improve the production.
Whitefly pest attacks, which destroy cotton crops, have always been an issue in Punjab and Haryana. After many failed attempts by scientists and governments to find a solution, a group of women in Haryana has finally found out a way to protect the crops.
About 100 women became part of a campaign to spread awareness about good harvest without using pesticides or chemicals on crops.
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And state agriculture department officials claim that farmers from over 12 villages in Jind have adopted pesticide-free style of farming leading to limited impact of whitefly attack in more than 1,000 acres of land.
Instead of using chemicals and pesticides, the farmers use a homemade spray to strengthen the plants. Their spray is a mix of di-ammonia phosphate (DAP), urea, zinc and water, and is called ‘Dr Dalal solution’. It is named after an agriculture development officer (ADO) named Surender Singh Dalal who started this style of farming about eight years back in Jind. The concept grew popular after his death two years ago, and many farmers started replacing pesticides with Dr. Dalal Solution.
Dalal had also taught farmers to identify the friendly insects that don’t harm their crops and farmers have identified around 200 insects whose activities are monitored to plan the plantation of crops.
This spray has helped farmers to beat the impact of whiteflies in an affordable way.
Instead of spending about Rs 5,000 per acre to control whitefly, they now just invest about Rs 500 per acre. To make more farmers follow the “desi” practice, weekly “khet pathshalas” (field days) are organised by master trainers of the group of farmers.