Cotton sowing is almost half of the normal sowing which was done last year as farmer were able to completed sowing on some 45.2 lakh hectares of cotton growing region of the country as opposed to 92 lakh hectares last year, which is the worst situation ever for the cotton crop in the last five-six years, moreover due to delayed and scanty rainfall has caused anxious moments for farmers, said SM Kolkatkar, director, Cotton Development Board, Mumbai, and Directorate of Cotton Development.
This is a matter of serious concern although there is still hope for a good crop. Farmers still have time till July-August. But this will again impact the lifespan of the crop and productivity. Sowing has been abnormal and as the result likely to see reduction in production.
Even if we have normal rains at a later point and farmers do catch up with sowing, but how far they will be able to match up to the previous year's production remains to be seen. Cotton is more resistant to drought and requires little water but this can impact the crop ultimately.
Farmers have no other option but to plant cotton since it is a sturdy crop and those in cotton-growing regions would plant cotton.
Cotton sowing can be taken up in Maharashtra till July-end though it can go up to the first week of August in Andhra Pradesh. So far only about 5% of the cotton area of 40 lakh hectares has been covered in Maharashtra.
Planting began last month in Punjab and Haryana, which are irrigated regions, while sowing in the biggest producing states of Gujarat and Maharashtra starts with the onset of monsoon rain.
According to the June estimate for the 2013-14 season released by the Cotton Association of India (CAI), the crop is placed at 395.5. lakh bales as against 356.75 lakh bales in the last season. The opening stock for 2013-14 is estimated at 43.25 lakh bales (54.75 lakh bales), import at 15 lakh bales (14.75 lakh bales) and domestic consumption at 255 lakh bales, as opposed to 252 lakh bales last year. Arrivals as on June 30 are placed at 382.30 lakh bales.
In North India, the cotton area has decreased to 13 lakh hectares as compared to 15 lakh hectares. Central India has also seen acreage under cotton dropping from 72 hectares to 71 lakh hectares. Gujarat has seen a fall in area to 24 lakh hectares from 26 lakh hectares. However, acreage in Maharashtra went up to 41 lakh hectares from 38 lakh hectares.
The Cotton Advisory Board has pegged cotton production on the higher side this year at 390 lakh bales compared to 365 lakh bales last year.
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