By admin       2019-05-29

Bathinda - To increase the cotton cultivation area in the region, the state Agriculture Department has introduced varieties of good quality cotton seeds. According to Director of the Agriculture Department Swatantar Kumar Airy, the varieties — 7172 cotton seed, BT 7172 and Bio Seed 11 — will improve the quality and production of the cotton crop and will be less dependent on pesticides. It is learnt that officials at a local level have been directed to take necessary steps to increase cotton cultivation in the Malwa region. During a meeting, Swatantar Kumar said the department had fixed a target to cultivate cotton on nearly 4 lakh hectares in the region this season. Apart from Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Fazillka, Moga and some areas of Sangrur district would also be covered for cotton cultivation. Officials said the cotton crop was not a water intensive crop unlike paddy and it would also assist in curbing the stubble burning menace in the state. Notably, a sizeable number of farmers in the region have switched from cotton to paddy cultivation after not getting remunerative prices for the same and high cost of pesticides. Now, the Agriculture Department is putting in all out efforts to ensure that farmers again switch back to cotton farming in the region. According to records of the Agriculture Department, cotton was cultivated on 6.04 lakh hectares in 2007. In 2017, it saw a sharp decline and reduced to 2.91 lakh hectares. After the department made strenuous efforts, the area under cotton cultivation was 3.20 lakh hectares in 2018. Despite sustained efforts by the government to increase the cotton cultivation area in the state, farmers have still opted for paddy cultivation considering it a much “safer alternative”.

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