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    Cotton cultivation likely to cover more acreage this year

    Synopsis

    India may end up with a higher cotton cultivation area this year than last as farmers from top cotton-growing states have already covered the normal area.

    India may end up with a higher cotton cultivation area this year than last as farmers from top cotton-growing states have already covered the normal area.
    PUNE: India may end up with a higher cotton cultivation area this year than last as farmers from top cotton-growing states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have already covered the normal area, with sowing operations on in many places.

    However, with uncertainly about exports to China, cotton prices are likely to remain lower than last year, say industry insiders. Top cotton producing state of Gujarat has completed sowing on 28.20 lakh hectare of land as on August 4, which is higher by 1.71 lakh hectare than previous year, and 103% of the average cotton area of the state.

    In Maharashtra, cotton has been sown on 96% of the targeted area. As on August 4, it has been sown over 36.30 lakh hectare as against 38.43 lakh hectare last year.

    Farmers have planted cotton on 152% of the normal area as on August 6 in Andhra Pradesh and the overall cotton acreage in the state is expected to be higher than the last two years. “Farmers are still planting cotton with the progress of rainfall,” said an official of the Andhra Pradesh agriculture department.

    Cotton seed companies too confirmed that the sale of cotton seeds so far has risen by about 15 to 20 lakh packets over previous year. “We think the sale has been more because of the re-sowing in some areas, increase in plant population by farmers to make up for the loss in yield due to delayed planting,” said MG Shembekar, vice president, National Seed Association of India (NSAI).

    A large number of farmers, who could not get good soyabean seeds, have also shifted to cotton in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. “When the final figures come, the total area is likely to be higher than last year, which will make up for any loss due to delay in sowing,” said a top official of a leading multinational trade house.

    Last year, farmers received about Rs 4,500/quintal to 5,000/quintal against the minimum support price (MSP) pf Rs 3,950/quintal. “Some traders are doing forward trading for December at Rs 36,000/candy. If the rates rule like this, then farmers’ price may not be much higher than the MSP,” said a big cotton trader from Marathwada in Maharashtra.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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