SUBJECT : Agriculture
Set to repeat 2007 success story of cotton cultivation

At the time of price is waning, yield declining and input costs increased, including high labour cost, all these factors are discouraging the farmers from cotton cultivation, the mainstay of the agriculture in this area, Indian Cotton Association Ltd  (ICAL) has adopted 150 farmers in three villages of Bathinda to make the farmers undertake better management practices.

 These practices are aimed at making significant reduction in input costs with reduced fertiliser application, proper pest identification, using appropriate pesticides and increasing productive use of water, thus increasing cotton yield and profitability.

 For the last two seasons, the sharp decline in cotton prices is the main reason for the decreasing area under this crop in Punjab. In the year 2013-14, the total area under cotton in Punjab was 5.05 lakh hectare which decreased to 4.5 lakh hectare in 2014-15 season.
Besides falling prices, the declining per hectare yield is another disadvantage to the cotton growers. If the per hectare yield in 2013-14 was 707 kg, it was 529 kg per hectare last year in Punjab.
To give a boost to the cotton cultivation, the ICAL in May this year had adopted Sher Garh, Gehri Bhagi and Gurusar Sainewala villages of Bathinda to promote cotton cultivation by using some innovative scientific techniques to cut input costs and increase cotton yield.

So that the improved yield and low input costs in these three villages promote other cotton growers to make “intelligent cotton agriculture”, we have started “Sankalpa”, meaning determination to perform, a project in collaboration with Monsanto, a private company so that using proper and timely techniques, the farmers earn better profit, said Mahesh Shardha, president of the ICAL.

 “We have a group of scouts who are regularly visiting these 150 farmers to provide them know-how inputs for better management of crop. We have already organised an awareness camp for these farmers and the other camp is scheduled to be held next week,” said Jitender Singh, secretary ICAL.  A former director at Punjab Agriculture University’s regional centre in Bathinda is also rendering his services to these farmers for making better management practiced developed, said Jitendera Singh.

About 10 years ago, when he cotton farmers of the area were on the verge of collapse with sliding yield, a similar attempt in a cluster of 50 villages of Bathinda, Dabwali, Abohar, Malout and Badal area had written a success story, making  a record in cotton production in India in 2007.

Under a Village Cluster Adoption Programme (VCAP), these 50 villages were adopted by a consortium of textile mills and four nationalised banks for imparting technical know-how and training to the farmers for better cropping management. This consortium was led by Vardhman Group includes Nahar, Trident, Aarti, Winsom, JCT, Gounterman groups.

 The VCAP was started in 2003, with the adoption of Nava Pind, a village of Bathinda, making an experiment to check the decreasing cotton yieldin this region. The experiment showed wonderful results and the perhectare yield of Nava Pind doubled to 800 kgs lint/hectare and this village joined the “Elite Cotton Club” of the world.

Then the number of villages under the VCAP kept increasing very year from 10 in 2004, to 25 in 2005 and 50 in 2006.


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Source: 7 July, 2015, The Tribune