03 June. 2023 – Muktsar : The state has failed to achieve the target of bringing 3 lakh hectares under the cotton crop due to inclement weather and farmers earning less profit than paddy. The cotton crop is mainly sown in Fazilka, Bathinda, Mansa and Muktsar districts.
By May 31 (sowing season ended), the crop was sown on around 1.75 lakh hectares (58 per cent of the target). Last year, the crop was sown on 2.48 lakh hectares against the target of 4 lakh hectares.
A senior official in the Agriculture Department said, “Initially, May 20 was decided as the last date for sowing cotton. Later, it was extended to May 31. Around 1.75 lakh hectares are under the cotton cultivation this year. Fazilka is the only district which has performed better.”
Fazilka Chief Agriculture Officer Jangir Singh said, “More than half of the area brought under the cotton crop is in Fazilka district. The cotton crop has been sown on 90,850 hectares against the target of 1.5 lakh hectares in the district. The canal water was made available to farmers on time.”
He said, “Even 33 per cent subsidy on the cotton seeds helped us this year. Though the weather played spoilsport, we brought maximum area under the cotton crop.”
Farmers said though cotton fetched a higher price than its minimum support price last year, they hadn’t sown it due to the whitefly and pink bollworm attack.
Gurdeep Singh, a cotton grower, said, “A majority of the farmers are not aware of the latest damage control methods. The weather is unfavourable and some farmers have resown the crop. The input costs have increased manifold.”
Gurpreet Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Muktsar, said, “The cotton is sown on nearly 20,000 hectares against the target of 50,000 hectares in Muktsar district. Various factors, including rain, and the pest attacks are behind it.”
He said, “Farmers are opting for the paddy crop due to its high yield and late sown varieties. Last year, the average cotton yield per acre remained four to six quintal per acre and the price varied from Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,000 per quintal. However, the paddy yield touched 30 quintal per acre and the MSP was Rs 2,060 per quintal.”
Courtesy : The Tribune