Revival of monsoon brings hope for cotton farmers

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 03, 2012 19:21 hrs

Revival of monsoon over the past one week in the key cotton and groundnut growing regions of Gujarat has brought some relief for farmers.

According to experts, recent rains in different parts of the state has controlled damages in cotton, while groundnut continues to be critical. "Recent rain has acted as a damage controller for cotton crop in Gujarat mainly for Saurashtra region, which remained almost dry during July and August months. During these months, both the main crops of groundnut and cotton were badly affected. The rains that came over the last one week, has saved the standing cotton crop," said N C Patel, vice chancellor of Junagadh Agriculture University.

Poor monsoon this year has taken a toll on kharif crops in Gujarat, especially cotton and groundnut, as government officials estimate nearly 70 per cent failure in these two crops. With majority of the crop failure reports coming from the Saurashtra and Kutch regions, farmers in the scarcity-hit areas feel the situation is more serious than it appears.

"Since, cotton is the main crop in this region, fresh showering has given most benefit to cotton crop in the state. It will also encourage castor sowing as water scarcity problem will recede due to recent rain," said a state government official.

As on August 27, 2012, about 76 per cent sowing has been completed for the ongoing kharif season at about 6.8 million hectares, against normal sowing of 8.79 million hectares. Last year, during the same period, sowing was done on over 8.58 million hectares.

So far, cotton sowing has been completed on 2.34 million hectares as against 2.95 million hectares in Gujarat, while groundnut sowing has declined from 1.42 million hectares to 1.18 million hectares this year.

Castor sowing starts from August and so far it is sown on 364,000 hectares in the state. Last year for the same period, castor sowing was done on 681,000 hectares.

"Groundnut pods, which are green, will survive with recent rains, but overall condition in groundnut is not so good," said Patel.

Sources maintained that the rains at this point of time, would help recharge local water resources and would also help in resolving the shortage of fodder that had led to some of the people abandoning their animals. "Rains over the last one week, would surely help in surviving cotton and other crops, but still it is not enough. If the rain continues in September, the picture will be good as it will secure water resources for farmers," M P Khanpara, research scientist of Junagadh Agriculture University.

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