Agri Business

Gujarat to see highest area expansion, says CAI

Notwithstanding the marginal decline in cotton acreage in northern states such as Punjab and Haryana, the area under the fibre crop is set to rise by 8 to 12 per cent this year to about 135 lakh hectares (lh) as farmers in Western, Central and Southern zone are seen planting more of the fibre crop on higher prices.

The Cotton Association of India (CAI), the apex trade body, is bullish about the sowing prospects this kharif season. “Sowing will increase by 12 per cent and go up to 133-135 lakh hectares from last year’s 120 lakh,” said Atul Ganatra, President, CAI.

Ganatra further said the increase in acreage expansion will be the highest in Gujarat, the largest producer of the fibre, at around 20-25 per cent.

Cotton planting, which started mid-April in Punjab and Haryana, is complete and the acreage is lower than last year’s levels and much lesser than the targets fixed by these States for the year.

“There is a marginal decline in Punjab and Haryana due to issues such as water availability during the planting season. However, the overall cotton area in the country will go up definitely this year and there should be at least 7-8 per cent increase in acreage because of high prices and short supply,” said YG Prasad, Director of Nagpur-based ICAR-Central Institute of Cotton Research.

Prasad further said most of the Central cotton growing regions have received rains and farmers are busy with sowing.

In Karnataka, the cotton area till June 10, had doubled to over 1.21 lh compared with 0.59 lh in the previous year. Karnataka has set a target of 7.28 lh this year. Andhra Pradesh has also sharply raised the cotton acreage target to 6.11 lh for the current year over last year’s cropped area of 5.33 lh.

Tarun Satsangi, AGM Research, Origo e-Mandi, said the decline in Punjab and Haryana would be offset by increase in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the major producers, where sowing will start by end of this month. “We believe that cotton crop area for the country as a whole will be higher by 5 per cent this year,” Satsangi said.

While Haryana has seen a 3 per cent decline at 6.28 lh this year, in Punjab the acreage would be around 2.48 lh — lower than last year’s 2.51 lh. Punjab had set a target of 4 lh, while Haryana was targeting an area of 7 lh this year.

Though the acreage under the fibre crop in Rajasthan, which stood at 4.72 lh till recently, is seen catching up, the overall area would be around 7 lh — lower than last year’s 7.66 lh, Satsangi said. Rajasthan had set a target of 8 lh for the current year.

Published on June 21, 2022