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Cotton farmers in Gujarat switch to cultivating groundnut
Jun '08
Farmers in Gujarat are all in for growing groundnuts instead of cotton and this bandwagon does not come as a surprise in the wake of receding profits that the crop brings to the growers.

Even State Government and traders anticipate an increase in the cultivation of groundnuts and other oilseeds which reap greater profits and minimize the risks undertaken by farmers.

The State Government estimates a drop of 10 percent in cotton acreage and a consequent rise of 10 percent in oilseed cultivation. However, traders have been even more pessimistic about the entire scenario and expect a 20 percent decline in cotton production.

In the last kharif season, areas under cotton cultivation stood at 25.2 lakh hectares whereas that for oilseeds was 24.3 lakh hectares. This time however, the situation is likely to be in the reverse. While cotton will hold on to about 22.4 lakh hectares, oilseeds will grab a mammoth share of 27.2 lakh hectares of cultivable area.

Experts have been of the opinion that high prices of oil seeds coupled with increasing incidents of disease spreading in cotton crop have been two of the major reasons behind the switchover opted by farmers. Besides, groundnut cultivation provides an added advantage of allowing farmers to grow a second crop in the rabi season bringing in additional revenues.

Cotton production has nearly shrunken by a half in the past two years. In comparison to the 1,200-1,400 kilogram per acre produce obtained earlier, last year production was only about 700-800 kilogram per acre.

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