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Rise in cotton output likely in northern States

Though farmers have sown less cotton this kharif season, the production in key northern States is likely to be higher in 2016-17 against 2015-16, on expectation of better yield due to conducive weather conditions.

“Cotton harvesting is in full swing. While the area had dipped this year in comparison to the last year, conducive weather conditions have boosted crop yield and hence the production for the 2016-17 season in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan is likely to be higher than 2015-16,” said Rakesh Rathi, president, India Cotton Association Limited (ICAL).

Pest attack

In north India, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan are the major cotton producing States. After the genetically-modified cotton crop suffered huge damage last year in Punjab and Haryana due to the whitefly pest attack, distressed farmers had sown less cotton this year.

According to ICAL, in Punjab, cotton was sown on 2.56 lakh hectares this season while in Haryana, it was on 4.98 lakh hectares. In Rajasthan, the area under cotton was nearly 4.78 lakh hectares.

The production

According to the estimate of ICAL, in the 2016-17 marketing season, cotton production in Punjab is likely to touch 9 lakh bales while in Haryana it could be 18 lakh bales. In Rajasthan’s upper region the cotton output is pegged at 6 lakh bales while in parts of lower Rajasthan 12 lakh bales are expected.

“Cotton crop has developed very well this season ... Also, there was negligible damage to the crop due to whitefly pest and therefore we are hopeful the cotton output this season will surpass last year’s production in northern States,” said Mr. Rathi.

The whitefly pest attack had caused extensive damage to Bt cotton varieties last year in Punjab and Haryana, resulting in a drop of nearly 40 per cent in production.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:30:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/Rise-in-cotton-output-likely-in-northern-States/article16080583.ece

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