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Anti-whitefly gene: Punjab AU to sign MoU with Lucknow lab

BATHINDA: To jointly research on a gene discovered by Lucknow-based National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) to contain the whitefly menace in the state, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) will sign a MoU with the institute on October 25. PAU has found that the ‘TMa 12’ gene isolated by NBRI was capable of resisting the whitefly menace and would be of immense benefit to Punjab’s cotton growers. Apart from that the PAU was also collaborating with the Gujrat Seeds Corporation and the Delhi University for conducting trials to develop new hybrid variety of cotton. Earlier, the cotton growers of Punjab saved Rs 2,268 per hectare this season by using less quantity of pesticides on cotton crop during the two months, from mid-May to mid-July. They saved Rs 58 crore by spending less on pesticides, said PAU vice-chancellor (VC) Baldev Singh Dhillon on Thursday at a ‘kisan mela’ organized at Bathinda. Some hybrid varieties of cotton and wheat were displayed by PAU at the farmers’ fair. VC Dhillon said, “The university scientists have detailed discussion on the gene TMa 12 and it was found that the gene could eliminate the menace of whitefly from cotton. It will take nearly 10 years for PAU scientists to prepare the gene fully capable of containing the whitefly menace in cotton crop.” Dhillon said after massive losses suffered by cotton growers in the previous season, the cotton crop was good and growers were expected to reap a rich harvest this time. The farmers following PAU advice avoided excessive use of fertilizers and saved money their crop. Data for period after mid-July was being collected. Farmer Jagdev Singh of village Bhundar said. “I made judicious use of fertilizers and got yield of more than 10 quintals per acre. I am expecting rich harvest.”

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