Punjab sets target of 4 lakh ha under cotton
Farmers and agriculture experts in Punjab are expecting a major increase in the area under cotton cultivation this season. The Punjab Agriculture Department has set a target of 4 lakh hectares to be brought under cotton cultivation in eight districts of the Malwa belt. Last year, the area under cotton cultivation was 2.56 lakh hectares.
Dr Jasbir Singh Bains, Director, Agriculture, who had come to visit some fields in Punjab said, “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 per cent of the expected area has been brought under cotton cultivation. We expect nearly 75 per cent area to be covered by May 15.”
The cotton sowing season lasts from April 15 to May 30. Experts said the cotton yield and prices had been good last year, which is a major reason why farmers were opting for cotton this year. “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,” said Dr Singh. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department under its high density plantation technique is giving a subsidy of Rs 500 per acre to cotton growers.