Caesar growers have suffered from a mite plague of their crops for decades, although last year’s vigorous plantings have once again fallen victim to the plague.
Cotton crops in Cesar’s department have suffered from the weevil plague for more than 70 years, however, it was detected last year, after apparent control of the pest. This worm worries the authorities again for its growth. In 2019, Caesar had barely 246 hectares of cotton, a figure that fell further, reaching 203 in 2020. However, planting has increased and reached 1,300 by 2021. But, according to the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), about 1,137 hectares are registered for the 2022 crop, A decrease of 13% compared to last year.
For this reason, Caesar Sectional Management of the ICA Issued an early warning for the establishment of new cropsDue to the high rate of captures registered in the trapping network established in the north of the department to control the pest.
For this reason, the recovery of the cotton crop that had reached the department may be frustrated by the presence of the cotton weevil (Anthonomus grandis), also known as the cotton weevil. This insect about 6 mm long feeds on cotton buds and flowers and is known as The most dangerous pest of the cotton crop in the whole of America Because it causes serious damage to production.
How long has weevil plague been in Colombia?
According to an ICA document citing research conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, the mite pest was first reported in the country in 1951, and for many years it has become the most serious plague of cotton in Colombia.
ICA statistics show that currently, Mite management represents 8.4% of production costs and 52% of the total value of pest control. In addition, “its damage results in a loss of 300 to 500 kg of cotton-seed per hectare, in which prevention and control measures are untimely and inefficient.”
The Golden Age of Cotton in Colombia
In Colombia, the modern cultivation of cotton dates back to 1948, when, by decision of the government, the Instituto de Fomento Algodonero (IFA) was created. Through its research work, this institution participated in the improvement of the crop and its yield. For this reason, it reached significant growth in the following decades and in 1977 the highest levels of production were reported to have been recorded. The production of raw cotton increased from 16,777 tonnes in 1951 to 475,925 in 1977.
For its part, the planted area increased significantly, rising from 37,900 hectares. 377,246 hectares in the same periodAccording to a document from Bank of Republic.
However, after 1977, despite further ups and downs, Colombian cotton production began to show a declining trend. In 2007, it had fallen below 100 thousand tons and in 2020, the Colombian Cotton Confederation (Conalgodon) reported a much lower figure of 7,276 tons.
However, at the end of 2022, Conalgoden estimates that production will increase to 17,545 tonnes, a 123% increase compared to the 7,880 tonnes produced in 2021.