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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Poor yield, price hike hurt Faridot cotton farmers

Raghbir Singh Brar, Hindustan Times  Faridkot, February 01, 2014
First Published: 23:46 IST(1/2/2014) | Last Updated: 15:36 IST(2/2/2014)

Cotton crop is unlikely to be grown by the region's farmers this growing season. A dip in yield, complete devastation by floods and only a slight increase in prices has disheartened cotton farmers.

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The agriculture department expected the area under cotton to be about 18,000 hectare this year. However, it fell to 12,000 hectare this year, 3,000 hectares less than last year. Most farmers now claim that they will prefer basmati or paddy over cotton.

"I sowed 5 acres of cotton after 13 years. Rains damaged and the crop and the productivity halved. I will not sow the crop again," says Chamkaur Singh, a farmer from Kotkapura village.

The increase in prices for the farmer has been only Rs. 1,000 per quintal, which has not been enough to cover the rising costs. Also, another issue with the crop the sowing of wheat crop is delayed.

"More than 83,463 quintal cotton has arrived in comparison to the last year's number at 2,15,426 quintal till January 30 in the district. The Kotkapura grain market is the worst hit with arrivals falling by 67%," said Kulbir Singh Matta," Faridkot mandi officer.

"Seeing the market trends, the many farmers would chose to bring more area UNDER Basmati instead of cotton," Matta added.

"Basmati has fetched farmers more income than cotton, so there could be some shift from cotton to basmati," said Atma Singh Sidhu, district marketing officer Faridkot.

Farmers have also claimed that the government had failed to popularize cotton and the subsidised BT cotton seed had not been made available to them.

"Even the seed of late wheat varieties after cotton is not made available," they allege.

"International market prices, bumper crop in other states and rains do have an impact in cotton farmers and farming. Cotton growers have suffered a loss," said Ashok Goyal, secretary Ahartiya association Kotkapura.

However, there was a contrarian view. "The area under cotton may not decrease as the fields are now part of traditional belt. It might not be possible to grow wheat and paddy on these crops due to lack of water or other crops etc. Abnormal weather and floods did hit other crops too," said Dr Amandeep Keshav, project director agriculture management technology, Faridkot.

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