Having experienced the highest cotton prices in the past 140 years, India is expecting to see increased acreage for sowing cotton in the major cotton growing states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. A large number of Indian farmers in these two states as well as Punjab and Haryana have already shifted from the production of other crops such as soyabean, groundnut, and rice to cotton production given the high prices. The President of the Cotton Association of India, Dhiren N. Seth, predicts continued increased acreage of up to 10-15% in 2011-2012.
AHMEDABAD|JAIPUR|PUNE|LUCKNOW|KOCHI|KOLKATA: As kharif sowing begin in irrigated belts of India, farmers are changing the sowing pattern depending on the remunerative prices they got in the previous year. Cotton prices, which touched a 140-year high this season, is expected to see an increase in acreage in prime growing states of Gujarat and Maharshtra. Across Punjab and Haryana, where more than 90% of the sowing has been completed, farmers have moved from paddy cultivation to cotton this year owing to better returns this season. In Punjab, the acreage increased by 87,000 hectares, touching 5.70 lakh hectares.
Similarly in Haryana, the cotton acreage is expected to have increased by 20% at 6 lakh hectares. The production is expected to touch 25.44 lakh bales, compared to 17.44 lakh bales during the 2010-11 marketing season. Cotton Association of India president Dhiren N Seth said that cotton acreage in the country was likely to increase by 10% to 15% in 2011-12 season with farmers moving from sowing soyabean, groundnut and rice. In 2010-11 , area under cotton was 11.16 million hectares. In Maharashtra, where sowing is yet to begin, cotton acreage is expected to see a 10% increase to 43.50 lakh hectare with production targeted to increase by 24 5 lakh bales at 95.96 lakh bales (one bale=170 kg). Farmers in Gujarat are likely to move from oil seeds and groundnut to cotton this season . State agriculture officers have targeted to cover over 26 lakh hectares under cotton with a production of over 105 lakh bales this season.