Chandigarh: Punjab is expecting a cotton output of around 8 lakh bales in the current Kharif season due to lower acreage and damage to the crop due to rains.
The cotton output had dropped sharply to 6.45 lakh bales in the last 2021-22 season due to the pink bollworm insect attack against more than 10 lakh bales in the previous year.
The current season production would be nearly 35 per cent lower than that in 2018-19.
Lesser area under cotton along with damage to the crop by rains and whitefly pest attack are being seen as the main reasons behind the expected decline in the overall yield.
Punjab could bring only 2.48 lakh hectares under cotton crop as against the target of 4 lakh hectares in cotton-growing areas of Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Fazilka, Sangrur, Moga and Faridkot in the Kharif sowing season.
During the time of sowing which is mid of April till May, farmers in several cotton-growing areas could not get sufficient canal water for sowing of the crop as there was a breach in the Sirhind feeder canal, said a senior official of the state agriculture department.
Due to inadequate canal water supply, farmers decided to switch to paddy crop, the official further said while giving reasons for the lesser area under cultivation.
Later, heavy rains affected the crop over at least 10,000 hectares of area in Muktsar and Fazilka, which will also impact the overall crop yield.
Moreover, several farmers in areas including Bathinda and Mansa were forced to plough the cotton crop because of whitefly pest attack.
According to the latest estimates, the area under cotton crop has now fallen to 2.20 lakh hectares, said the official. Though the department official said the attacks of whitefly pest and pink bollworm have been controlled.
We are expecting cotton output of 8 lakh bales this season, said the official.
The area under cotton in 2009-10 in Punjab was around 5 lakh hectares but after that it gradually started declining.
In 2018-19, the area under cotton was 2.68 lakh hectares. It dropped to 2.48 lakh hectares in 2019-20 and then it was 2.52 lakh hectares and 2.51 lakh hectares in 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively, as per data available.
Punjab had recorded cotton output of 12.23 lakh bales in 2018-19, followed by 12.06 lakh bales in 2019-20 and 10.23 lakh bales in 2020-21.
With the pink bollworm insect causing damage to the crop in 2021-22, the state’s cotton output sharply dropped to just 6.45 lakh bales last year, as per data of the state agriculture department.
According to experts, the cotton prices are expected to remain around Rs 10,000 per quintal this season as well. Last year, the growers fetched around Rs 10,000 a quintal.
The minimum support price of cotton for the current season is Rs 6,080 per quintal for medium staple and Rs 6,380 a quintal for long staple variety.