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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Floods to put farmers off cotton, hit diversification drive

Raghbir Singh Brar , Hindustan Times  Faridkot, August 26, 2013
First Published: 23:58 IST(26/8/2013) | Last Updated: 00:16 IST(27/8/2013)

 Floods this year might put off farmers from diversifying into crops other than paddy.

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Standing cotton crop on the majority of 17,000 hectares has been destroyed this year due to the record rains and farmers are unlikely to find it worthwhile to take a risk on the crop again and paddy would be back, claim agriculture scientist and observers. Basmati could an option, depending on the market this year.

"Heavy rainfall has led to the loss of cotton crops. The crop has ben badly damaged in the blocks of Faridkot," said Sukhwant Singh Sran, Faridkot chief agriculture officer.

"Confidence in maize and guar which were sown on trial basis has also been hit and these crops could be put in cold storage for some time."

Chamkaur Singh and Jagroop Singh from Bir Sikhan Wala village were the first farmers in the village to bring some area under cotton.

"I grew cotton on 4 acres, but about 50% crop has been damaged.  If it happens, paddy or Basmati would be only choice before me next year," Chamkaur said.

"Plants fell flat on the ground and have withered. The other plants would not be able to bear much as the crop has been damaged."

"Cotton on my 6 acres is gone. Basmati might be an option for me this year. I will not risk growing cotton next year," says Arvinderpal, a farmer from Wander Jatana.

"Most farmers are regretting growing cotton. Diversification will be hit. Farmers are unlikely to take a bet on cotton, maize or guar for some time," said Kaur Singh Dhillon, former agriculture officer Faridkot, who is now the district training officer.

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