Severe conditions of hear, dearth of canal water supply and genetically modified (Bt) seeds, have adversely impacted cotton areas in Punjab.
Punjab has already missed its set target of 550,000 hectares. As per data by the State Government, the overall area under cotton cultivation was recorded as 532,500 hectares this season.
Generally, cotton sowing commences from April 15, however, dearth of canal water supply and severe condition of heat, delayed sowing of the cotton crop by a few weeks and the deadline therefore expired on May 15.
However, earlier it was believed that, despite delay in sowing the overall area for cultivating cotton, they will touch the figure of 550,000 hectares this season, as compared to only 511,000 hectares last year.
More so, the state government too had targets production at 230,000 bales this year, as against a total production of 2.06 million bales, registered last year.
As majority of the land under cotton cultivation is dependent on canal irrigation, the State Government had ordered several new tube-well connections to help Punjab attain its set target.
But, around all these problems, the state has registered a slight rise of 4.2 percent in area, as against last year's set target of 7-8 percent.
But experts claim that, severe weather conditions have immensely impacted cotton sowing area of the state. During the sowing season, the maximum temperature was in the range of 42 – 43 degrees Celsius, which is around four degrees over normal. And according to agriculture experts, temperature for cotton crops is best suited when below 40 degrees.
As per sources, 95 percent of the area is said to be under Bt cotton as besides rise in area, last year, cotton growers had again witnessed windfall gain, owing to attaining better prices. The aggregate price of medium staple cotton in Punjab was quoted above the MSP of Rs 2,800 a quintal, in different mandis of Punjab state.
So, in order to repeat the rich harvest, farmers got lured to choose the high-yielding variety. Awareness seminars with respect to cotton cultivation, with farmers, are also taken up by the state government, explaining them that cotton crop consumes less water as compared to paddy.
Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Sangrur, Moga and Barnala districts are rich in cotton.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India