Insect Control Costs Continue to Decline

Date Posted: 07 Oct, 2016
The latest edition of the ICAC survey on cost of production shows that insect control costs continue to decline. According to the most recent data, farmers on average spent only 12 US cents per kilogram of lint produced in 2015/16, which represents 10% of the net cost of lint production. The previous edition of this tri-annual study, published in 2013, showed that a farmer spent 16 US cents to produce a kilogram of lint in 2012/13. The 25% reduction of insecticide costs per unit of lint produced is entirely due to more cautious use of insecticides by farmers. Lower spending on insecticides is one of the main factors responsible for lowering the net cost of production to US$1.16/kg in 2015/16.
The survey shows that insecticides comprise almost half of the spending on weed control, fertilizer costs and picking of cotton. In 2000/01, expenditures on insect control accounted for 21% of the net cost of cotton production. Insect control costs constituted an even larger share of the production costs in the 1980s and 1990s. The declining trend in insect control costs indicates that, in general, problems associated with insect control in cotton are being reduced around the world. Integrated pest management strategies, including reduced chemical use, use of chemicals with reduced toxicity and persistence, use of chemicals more precisely targeted at specific pests and more efficient application methods are all contributing to a reduction in insecticide costs as a share of total expenses. A surge in the use of insect-resistant biotech cotton has also lowered insecticide use; about three-fourths of world cotton is now produced with varieties having insect-resistant trait.
The ICAC survey on the cost of production of raw cotton is unique in the world. The full report contains data from 31 countries for 2015/16 and will be released during the 75th Plenary Meeting of the ICAC, which will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan, from October 30 to November 4. For more information on the Plenary, visit

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