THOUGH PADDY transplantation has started in Punjab from June 10, the target for the year is to shift 2.5 lakh hectares under paddy to other crops. To fulfill this target, area under cotton has already touched 4.8 lakh hectares till June 10 against 3.90 lakh hectares in 2019 and 3 lakh hectares in 2018.
In addition to this, cotton sowing will continue for a week more, said agriculture experts.
While Ludhiana has sown cotton on 40 hectares, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib have done the same on 13 and 12 hectares respectively, said Kahan Singh Pannu, secretary, agriculture department, told The Indian Express.
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal), said, “Ludhiana, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib used to sow cotton more than two decades back. But they used to do it for self-consumption so as to make cotton for mattresses, ‘khaddar’ cloth for sheets, kurta pajama etc. However, as paddy transplantation picked up in the areas, people gave up cotton sowing. If someone has started again, it must be for self use only.”
A meeting regarding promotion of cotton as a crop had also taken place Wednesday in Bathinda in which Sutantar Kumar, director, agriculture, asked all chief agriculture officers of Malwa to exceed area under cotton beyond 5 lakh hectares.
Speaking to The Indian Express, he said, “No doubt rice stocks are needed looking at pandemic, but we need to see the state’s interests as well. The water table also needs to be taken care of. Hence apart from area under cotton, we are laying thrust on increasing area under maize from last year’s 1.30 lakh hectares to 3 lakh hectares while 80,000 hectares maize sowing has taken place. It will continue in whole June.”
Maximum cotton has been grown by Bathinda on 1.62 lakh hectares, followed by border district Fazilka where 1.2 lakh hectares area is under cotton while 9,805 hectares is under cotton in Muktsar, 89,021 in Mansa, and 5,128 and 1,736 hectares in Sangrur and Barnala.
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