Chandigarh, Dec 20 (IANS) Punjab is expected to see a record production of cotton this year at 18.20 lakh bales against last year’s 12.23 lakh bales, state agriculture officials said on Thursday.
With this, an average production per acre crossed the 10 quintals per acre mark. Last year there was an average production of 9.31 quintals per acre.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has congratulated the farmers, especially from the Malwa belt, for record production of cotton, while directing the Agriculture Department to ensure timely advance support for the cotton growers for the next Kharif season.
He lauded the efforts of the Agriculture Department, especially the field staff, in motivating the farmers to shift to cotton cultivation, as part of the state government’s crop diversification focus.
These efforts translated into increase in the area under cotton cultivation from 6.70 lakh acres last year to 9.80 lakh acres during this year, an official spokesperson told IANS.
Timely intervention by the Cotton Corporation of India, on the initiative on the Chief Minister has for far led to the purchase of 4.36 lakh quintals of cotton, which is about 20 per cent of the total arrival of the produce in the market.
The purchase has been done at a minimum support price of Rs 5,450 per quintal, fixed by the Central government for American cotton, said the spokesperson.
The Chief Minister also complimented Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana for working with the state Agriculture Department to ensure availability of high quality seeds and pesticides, besides timely advice and extension services to farmers.
Amarinder Singh has also directed the Agriculture Department to ensure all these provisions to farmers in advance to enable expansion of cotton cultivation to the targeted 12.50 lakh acres in the next Kharif season.
Agriculture Secretary K.S. Pannu said the favourable climate had also contributed to the bumper production of the ‘white gold’ and the introduction of drip irrigation helped boost yield and lower cost of cultivation.
The decline in cost of production due to decreased use of pesticides had also proved beneficial for the farmers, he added.