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(rptg, with correction in para 10)

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, Oct 23 (UNI) With a record high yield of cotton, up to 750 kg lint per hectare, Punjab is all set to have bumper arrival of the white gold this Kharif season.

An arrival of over 25 lakh bales has been estimated in the ongoing cotton procurement season due to the bumper yield and the significant enhancement in area under cotton cultivation this time, Punjab Agriculture department's Joint Director (Cotton) Dr R S Bains told UNI here.

The area under cotton cultivation this Kharif season has increased up to 6.18 lakh hectares from last year's 5.57 lakh hectares. The area has been increasing continuously from 2002-03 onwards when it was 4.49 lakh hectares.

Over 80 per cent of cotton cultivation in the state at present was of the BT hybrid variety, which was initially introduced by Monsanto in the state, Dr Bains said, adding that a large number of growers had brought the hybrid seeds from Gujarat as well which yielded good results.

Besides the increased area and the yield, the successful pest management has also been the reason for such a high yield, he said. ''The spread of ball worm is now no more a menace for the growers due to the introduction of the BT seed,'' he said, adding that the sucking pests like white fly, jassid, and aphids were also under control with help of only two sprays this time.

He also attributed favourable climatic contiditions for the high yield this time.

It was in 1991-92 that the state had 24.69 lakh bales from 7.19 lakh hectares under the crop at that time.

Looking at the good quality of cotton from the state last year, the Union government had hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for the crop by Rs 45 for Punjab farmers, which fetched them at least Rs 1890 per quintal for their crop.

The private purchasers in the market were even picking up the commodity for Rs 1950 per quintal for the quality with a staple length exceeding 30 mm, Dr Bains said.

The cotton of Punjab in mainly from the southern districts- Ferozepur, Faridkot, Bathinda, Mansa, Moga and Sangrur. The farmers in several parts of Patiala district had also deviated from paddy to cotton this Kharif season.

The area under cotton in the state had been 4.49 lakh hectares in 2002-03, 4.52 in in 2003-04, 5.09 in 2004-05 and 5.57 in 2005-06.

The yield had been 366 kg lint per hectare in 2001-02, 409 in 2002-03, 556 in 2003-04, 697 in 2004-05 and 731 in 2005-06.

UNI PS JS VD RK1725

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