Area under cotton crop is likely to increase in the northern States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan in this kharif season. Growers buoyed by high prices, are seen switching back to the fibre crop from paddy. Seed producers are expecting 20-25% rise over the last year’s 11.96 lakh hectares.
Cotton acreage had drastically dropped in the North, mainly in Punjab, as farmers had suffered significant losses on account of crop damage by the whitefly. Also, there was a shift towards the desi varieties last year as farmers moved away from Bt hybrids in several areas
Cotton acreage in North India, which stood at a high of 15.55 lakh hectares in 2014-15, dropped to 13.90 lakh ha in the subsequent year and reached a low of 11.96 lakh ha in 2016-17 on rising pest attacks and declining yields. Cotton prices continue to rule firm across the country on a lower crop and steady demand.
Union Agriculture Ministry has maintained a status quo on Bt cottonseed prices for the upcoming season.A notification issued on March 10 kept the maximum sale price for BG-II Bt cotton at ₹800 per 450 gm.Centre had cut royalty fees payable to the technology providers of Bt cotton seeds significantly last year and also the retail price of the seeds, bringing much cheer to 8 million growers across the country.