CHANDIGARH: Cotton, often termed by farmers as 'white gold' for bringing higher remuneration, is set to regain lost ground in Punjab where the area under the crop is expected to rise by more than 50 per cent after it fell to ever lowest 2.56 lakh hectares in the last year. The revival of the fibre crop is buttressed by highest productivity of 756 lint kg per hectare in kharif season 2016-17 compared to lowest ever 197 lint kg per hectare in 2015-16.
"This year cotton is likely to make revival in several South Western districts where paddy was grown in the last few seasons," joint director, Punjab agriculture, JS Bains said. "In recent years famers had opted for paddy in this region that traditionally grew cotton after yield declined and liberal sanction of new tube wells facilitated paddy sowing," he said. "The state has recorded highest ever cotton productivity in 2016-17," Bains said.
This kharif season the cotton acreage is expected to jump over four-lakh hectares in Punjab after two-years of consecutive decline in area due to extensive damage caused by whitefly.
Already the expected revival of cotton this season has caused spurt in demand for cotton hybrid seeds in North. The seed companies like Rasi Seeds, DCM Shriram and Ankur are witnessing rise in demand for cotton hybrids in Punjab and Haryana.
In Haryana, farmers are expected to cut area under pulses as well as guar to grow more cotton. "There could be increase in area by 10-12 per cent under cotton this year," a senior official of Haryana Agriculture department said.
"More than the higher price prevailing in the market the rise in yield has win confidence of farmers to grow cotton," says Satnam Singh of Mansa who plans to sow cotton in eight acres. In 2015-16 the yield hasd fallen to 196 lint kg per hectare in Punjab resulting in severe losses to farmers.
Meanwhile, Punjab the agriculture department had made arrangement for 22-23 lakh packets of cotton seed hybrids recommended by Punjab Agriculture University. "Seeing high demand more cotton seed will be made available to farmers," he said.
Last season posted highest cotton productivity in Punjab buttressed by the dedicated government supported crop management, pest and weed control programs. "This year the agriculture department has arranged for surveillance teams, scouts to control weeds," Bains said.