By admin       2018-08-18

Ahmedabad: After a slow start due to the delayed monsoon, cotton cultivation across Gujarat has covered ground and surpassed last year’s acreage. Cotton has been sown on 26.74 lakh hectares as on August 13, 2018. The area covered with the fibre crop was 26.51 lakh hectares in 2017, the latest kharif sowing data released by the state agriculture department shows. Saurashtra has had the largest area sowed with cotton, 19.12 lakh hectares, so far this year. Cotton acreage in Central and North Gujarat are 3 lakh and 2.72 lakh hectares, respectively. About 1.38 lakh hectares has been sown with cotton in South Gujarat. According to industry players, the heavy rainfall in Amreli, Junagadh and Gir Somnath districts this July hurt sowing. However, farmerss got enough time to re-sow their fields as the monsoon took a break after that. “Sowing picked up in the later stages of the kharif season as the government told farmers to start sowing only after the rains arrived. Moreover, the delayed monsoon also prompted farmers to take up sowing a little later,” said B M Modi, Gujarat agriculture director. The increase in the MSP has further drawn farmers to cotton. “Cotton prices have firmed up noticeably in the last three months on the back of increased exports and domestic consumption. The increase in price of other agriculture commodities is less than cotton. This has drawn more farmers to opt for cotton this kharif season,” said Arun Dalal, a city-based cotton trader. The price of the Shankar-6 cotton variety surged from Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,300 per 20kg in the last three months. The average price of this variety hovered between Rs 800 and Rs 1,000 in 2017-18. “The new cotton season, beginning October, is expected to open with prices no less than Rs 1,150 per 20kg as the government has hiked the cotton minimum support price (MSP),” he added. The fresh spell of rain will further improve not just the quantity but quality as well. Gujarat produced 95 lakh bales (one bale is 170kg) in 2017-18. Cotton output is expected to be 10-15% higher in 2018-19.

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