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Poor Sowing Casts Doubt Over Rajasthan's 2024-25 Cotton Output

14 May 2024 5:44 pm
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Mumbai, May 13 (Commodities Control): Rajasthan - India's one of the top cotton-growing states - is bracing for a potential fall in cotton production for the marketing year 2024-25, due to sluggish sowing activities.

The key districts of Sri Ganganagar, Anoopgarh, and Hanumangarh in Upper Rajasthan are witnessing a concerning lag in sowing activities, primarily attributed to farmers' reduced interest in purchasing cotton seeds.

Dr. Satish Sharma, Joint Director of Agriculture in Sri Ganganagar, informed that as of May 12th, only 60,000 hectares have been sown with cotton in Sri Ganganagar (29,000 hectares) and Anoopgarh (31,000 hectares) combined, significantly lower than the 2,31,000 hectares sown last year.

Interestingly, the delay in sowing isn’t due to water scarcity or seed availability issues but stems from a lack of enthusiasm among farmers for cotton cultivation. Northern region also faces a peculiar issue of poor yields, lower prices and higher picking costs. The land availability in northern region is also constrained by lower land rent, which is about Rs 70,000 per acre for fields suitable for Paddy and about Rs 40,000 per acre for Cotton.

Further confirming this downward trend are reports from seed distributors indicating that only about 20% of the expected sowing activity has been completed in the region, predicting a potential 40% reduction in the total area under cotton cultivation compared to last year.

Rajasthan, a significant contributor to India's cotton production with 26.8 lakh bales produced last year across 7.91 lakh hectares, faces a concerning outlook for the current season. This trend aligns with India's broader cotton output, which experienced an 8% decline to 294.10 lakh bales in the previous season due to lower yields across major growing regions.

The Cotton Association of India (CAI) had initially revised production estimates upward to 309.70 lakh bales for the ongoing season based on favorable weather predictions. However, the recent sowing data challenges these expectations.

Optimistic forecasts of above-normal monsoon rains this season, which typically favor cotton cultivation, is helping experts not to worry about the current trajectory.

Rakesh Rathi, former president of the North India Cotton Association, remains cautiously optimistic, pointing out that there is still time until May 20th for a potential rebound in sowing activities. A late surge in interest among farmers could alleviate concerns and restore hope for a more favorable cotton output this season.

The consequences of another year of declining cotton production would reverberate throughout India’s cotton value chain, highlighting the need for proactive measures to stimulate farmer interest and ensure sustainable growth in this crucial sector. The upcoming weeks leading to the final sowing deadline will be critical in determining the trajectory of India's cotton production for the 2024-25 season.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau; +91-9820130172)

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