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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 2:11 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 2:11 AM (IST)

Area under cotton crop may shrink

Low prices last year, water shortage to blame, say farmers
Area under cotton crop may shrink
Labourers at work in a cotton field in Bathinda. Malwa farmers are reclutant to sow cotton this year. File photo

Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16

With the cotton crop not fetching good prices in the season gone by and the farmers not getting timely canal water supply in the sowing season, there are reports that the area under cotton cultivation in Malwa belt may witness a decline this year.

Talking to The Tribune, former North India Cotton Association president Ashok Kapur admitted that the trend was weak right now and there was nothing to suggest that the area under cotton cultivation would increase. He said the cotton prices in the previous season touched Rs 5,200 to Rs 5,300 per quintal, which the farmers didn’t find remunerative. Moreover, not all of them got the prices above Rs 5,000 per quintal.

“They were let down by both nature as well as the government,” he said. According to him, a clear picture will emerge in about a month once the sowing operations are completed in the region. Incidentally, he said the area under cotton crop might see an increase in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan.

GS Romana, senior farm economist, PAU, said: “Though it would be premature to comment on the issue, non-availability of canal water has certainly taken a toll on cotton sowing. It remains to be seen whether it will lead to a decline in the area under cotton.” He said the PAU had recommended to the farmers to go for cotton sowing from April 15 to May 15, but the farmers, particularly those having land in tail-end villages, were grappling for canal water till April end.

He said: “Besides low prices last season, there are various risk factors like pest attack and vagaries of weather, which will play a critical role in deciding the area under cotton cultivation.”

BKU Ekta Ugrahan leader Shangara Singh Mann said the farming community was disillusioned with the cotton crop. “They are apprehensive due to influx of spurious cotton seeds in the state. Moreover, there is not enough canal water and power supply too is inadequate,” he said. According to him, the farmers fear failure to have a good produce or fetch lucrative prices of their crop.

Last year, the area under cotton in the state had gone up from 2.56 lakh hectare to 3.83 lakh hectare.

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