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The Economic Times

With prices steady, cotton sowing likely to rise 7-8%

Chandigarh: Cotton sowing is expected to rise 7-8 per cent in India, as low carryover stock and steady prices are luring farmers to raise its acreage. Cotton sowing has jumped 10-20 per cent in the northern states where sowing is in an advanced stage. This trend is expected to be replicated in major cotton growing states in central India.

Cotton made a strong revival in Punjab this season after whiteflies attacked crops. “The area would cross 4 lakh hectares from 2.75 lakh hectares last year as farmers are being exhorted to grow the natural crop of region,” Punjab’s Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department director Sutantar Kumar told ET. He said concerted efforts have been made by the state government to entice farmers from planting the water-guzzling paddy. He said this season, canal water has been supplied a fortnight ahead than usual to facilitate sowing. He said the department has ensured availability of cotton varieties most suitable for a particular area after due consultation with farmers and seeds companies.

Cotton sowing starts earlier than the rest of the country in the northern states. In Rajasthan, farmers have gone for re-sowing after rains in recent weeks damaged the sown crop. “Cotton seed sale is up by 10 per cent in Hanumangarh region,” said Dhanjeet Dhingra, dealer of Rasi Seeds in Hanumangarh. Experts believe that cotton acreage is likely to increase 7-8 per cent across the country. “The carryover stock is estimated at around 2 million bales and it is the lowest in the last decade,” Vinay Kotak, director, Kotak Commodities, said. The Cotton Association of India has estimated the output at 31.5 million bales for the current season, much lower than the projections at the start of harvesting season in 2018-19. Experts maintain that though cotton prices are expected to tread a steady course in the coming months, the outcome of trade war between the US and China would add to volatility in the global cotton market.
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