The Indian state of Punjab Agriculture Department has set a target of 4 lakh hectares to be brought under cotton cultivation in eight districts of the Malwa belt this season. Last year, the area under cotton cultivation was 2.56 lakh hectares. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department under its high density plantation technique is giving a subsidy of Rs 500 per acre to cotton growers.
Dr Jasbir Singh Bains, Director, Agriculture said that a number of farmers who used to grow paddy have shown their interest in sowing cotton this year. The trend shows that there is no effect of whitefly now. Till today, 20 percent of the expected area has been brought under cotton cultivation. They expect nearly 75 percent area to be covered by May 15. The cotton sowing season lasts from April 15 to May 30.
The paddy growers have been advised not to sow paddy before June 15. The state has 105 of 146 blocks under dark zone due to the depleting water level. If the farmers will sow paddy in advance, it will need more water.
Experts said that the cotton yield and prices had been good last year, which is a major reason why farmers were opting for cotton this year. They had last year deployed their supervisors to keep a check on whitefly. They will be deployed this year too.
The team also inspected the availability of seed, water and power in the fields.
However, at a few places like Kot Shamir in Bathinda, farmers lodged complaints of power and water supply shortage. They will take up the matter with higher authorities.
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