Other States

Three lakh acres more under cotton crop in Punjab likely

Punjab can see around three lakh acres more under the cotton crop this kharif (summer) season against the previous year as farmers could shift from paddy on account of possible labour shortage.

The State government’s push for crop diversification would be another factor that could aid the acreage under cotton, farmers and traders told The Hindu.

“Farmers are definitely going to sow more cotton this season than the last year. There’s currently a shortage of labour and if it continues, there’s a good chance that farmers will prefer sowing cotton instead of paddy, wherever it’s possible. Labour from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have an expertise in planting paddy but with many of them returning to their native places there will be some difficulty,” said Rakesh Rathi, former president of the India Cotton Association Limited (ICAL).

“Also farmers may sow less guar crop as its prices have remained subdued and shift to cotton, especially in Abohar, Mansa and surrounding areas. In Harayana also, the area under cotton can go a little up,” he said.

In Punjab and Haryana, Bt cotton is sown in over 95% of the area, the rest 5% cotton is usually the indigenous (desi) cotton varieties. Cotton is usually planted from mid April to till late May in most parts of Punjab and Haryana.

“Paddy is a labour intensive crop and if migrant labourers don’t return in the coming months then surely many farmers, where sowing cotton is a viable option, will go for it. I am sure the area under cotton will increase this season in Punjab. Also the government is promoting it,” said Surjit Singh, president, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari).

The Punjab government has set a target of enhancing the area under cotton cultivation from 9.7 lakh acres last year to 12.5 lakh acres in 2020, to promote crop diversification. The government data shows that cotton was sown in 6.62 lakh acres in 2018 and in 9.7 lakh acres in 2019.

Amid the ongoing curfew, the Agriculture department has coordinated with the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to buy last season’s remaining produce from farmers at the Minimum Support Price and for this 19 markets in the cotton belt have already been made operational.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 6:52:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/three-lakh-acres-more-under-cotton-crop-in-punjab-likely/article31437943.ece

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