By admin       2017-02-20

Feb 18, 2017 - After a year of despair and heavy financial losses, the cotton yield has received a boost as the production has surpassed last year’s figures. At least 6.6 lakh bales (each weighing 140kg) of cotton have been procured so far as against the total production of 6.5 lakh bales last year. Last year, whitefly destroyed more than 60% of the cotton crop in the Malwa belt. Despite the steep fall in the area covered under cotton production, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is expecting production of 8.75 lakh bales this year. Moreover, higher prices of the “white gold” came as an icing on the cake for growers as they are getting an average of Rs 5,900 per quintal for their crop. Last year, the farmers got Rs 3,800 to Rs 4,200 per quintal after the whitefly attack. The cotton growing area in the Malwa belt reduced to 2.48 lakh hectares in 2016-17 from 4.5 lakh hectare in 2015-16 as growers feared a possibility of pest attack. Commissioner (agriculture) Balwinder Singh Sidhu, who has been given additional charge of director agriculture, said the quality and yield of cotton crop has improved this year and farmers are getting lucrative prices for their produce. “More than 60% of the total yield was sold for more than Rs 5,000 per quintal. Due to low production last year, the demand for cotton in India and abroad shot up this year, which is another for farmers getting higher prices,” said Sidhu. Punjab has an advantage over Maharashtra and Gujarat as the produce comes much earlier in the market here as compared to both the states and it attracts private players to the state. Meanwhile, CCI general manager Brijesh Kumar said lucrative prices and increased production is a good indication for farmers and the cotton industry. “With positive results this season, more farmers will opt for cotton crop the fibre crop,” he said. The CCI is expecting a production of 8.75 lakh bales and private players are offering best prices to meet the domestic and commercial consumption.

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