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Heat wave, water scarcity may dent 2022-23 cotton production in India

Published: 2022-05-17
The scorching heat wave in North and central India may dent cotton production for the next marketing season beginning October 1. Cotton is sown between mid-April to mid-May in most parts of North India, and also in Tamil Nadu and some adjoining areas. But temperature in north India began to rise abnormally since March, which turned to heat wave in mid-April.

Lower production and global price rise pushed up domestic cotton prices above to ₹100,000 per candy of 356 kg last week. This is likely to attract farmers to grow cotton, which may lead to an increase of about 15-20 per cent in cotton acreage, according to preliminary estimates. However, heat wave and water scarcity may mar cotton production prospects.

A senior scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, told Fibre2Fashion, “Under heat wave conditions, the moisture in farms evaporates quickly so germination becomes difficult for various crops including cotton. There is risk also for wastage of seed. Due to the heat wave this year, farmers need more irrigation to ensure normal growth of the crop. But there is also scarcity of water for irrigation.”

Naresh Goyal, a trader from Bathinda in Punjab said that cotton sowing got delayed because water was not released in canals. “Cotton sowing will not get over till mid-May as per schedule, and may prolong till the end of May.”

According to the reports, mercury breached a level of 43 degree Celsius in northern India at a time when cotton sowing was going on in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. In Punjab, farmers are still protesting and demanding early water release in canals. While in Rajasthan, farmers neither have canal water supply nor they can run tube wells because of power crisis. The farmers in Haryana are also facing same issues for cotton sowing.

Still, farmers are diverting to cotton sowing because prices have reached above ₹10,000 per quintal for unginned cotton (kapas), and ₹100,000 per candy for ginned cotton. However, an accurate estimate about the area under cotton cultivation would be ascertained only after the sowing is complete in other major cotton producing states, including Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (KUL)