Cotton growers of Gujarat are praying for another spell of good rains over the next 10 days, fearing a sharp fall in cotton yield. Deficient rains in the next fortnight could offset the projected gains of 4-6 per cent in cotton yield from Gujarat, industry experts said.

"The present condition of the crop is good, but more rains are now required. If it rains within a week or 10 days, then its very good, otherwise the yield will get impacted," vice-chancellor Junagadh Agriculture University Dr N C Patel said.

"Cotton acreage in kharif has touched 25.51 lakh hectares in Gujarat. With 90 per cent of sowing in the state getting over and virtually no rainfall in the last fortnight ,the projected gain in yield this year could be offset if it does not rain," a Cotton Corporation of India(CCI) official said.

Acreage under cotton increased by over 2.5 lakh hectares in the state this year compared to last year. The cotton yield was expected to go up by 4-6 per cent, he added.

Acreage is up

According to the state agriculture department report, area under cotton crop stood at 25.51 lakh hectares as of August 10 2009, against 22.96 lakh hectares last year.

"Saurasthra, a large cotton producing belt was hit by excessive rainfall in the beginning, and now there are drought-like conditions in the second spell," Patel said adding "The two extreme conditions are not good for the crop yield."

Shankar-6, a long staple variety of cotton is largely grown in Gujarat, concentrated in the Saurashtra region. Over 75 per cent of cotton produced in Gujarat comes from Saurashtra, Kutch, North and Central parts of the state.

The government has increased the minimum support price for cotton to Rs 2,700-2,800 per quintal for 2008-09, up by nearly 40 per cent, and this is being cited as a major reason for increase in acreage under the crop. Gujarat is the second largest producer of cotton in the country, after Maharashtra.

Keywords: CottonGujarat

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