By Karan Kapoor
Bhatinda/Malwa (Punjab), June 13 : Anticipating a higher minimum support price for paddy, farmers in Bhatinda in Punjab are likely to switch over to paddy cultivation in place of cotton this summer season.
The farmers said that they are expecting a rise in the minimum support price of paddy, a decision that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is likely to take before the sowing season begins.
A similar announcement for wheat in winter led to its all time high production in the country.
Apart from the minimum support price, the farmers feel that paddy, as compared to cotton, requires less maintenance.
"Paddy would be more beneficial than cotton for us after the minimum support price is announced. Paddy fields also require less labour as compared to cotton fields. When we sow wheat after paddy in the same field, it grows well," said Sukhvinder Singh, a farmer.
There are reports that the proposal to increase the area under cotton might not actually see the light of the day.
Moreover, cotton farmers in traditional cotton belt areas like Bathinda and Mansa have been bearing the brunt of the unpredictable weather conditions.
Experts say that under the given circumstances, the cotton crop growers feel that growing paddy would be a more lucrative option.
"The government is likely to increase the Minimum Support price for paddy. That is one of the main reasons why these people are shifting to paddy from cotton. They consider paddy a secure crop now," said Rajesh Singla, Chief Manager of Vardhman Cotton Purchase in Bathinda.