According to estimates, only 3.5 lakh bales of cotton will be produced this year in the state.
Aside from the sharp decline in production, commission agents and officials at the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) have reported that this year’s crop is of poorer quality, with brighter colours and shorter fibres than previously recorded.
The state produced 6.45 lakh bales of cotton last year, down from 10 lakh bales in 2020-21.
Pink bollworm has caused a decline in cotton production.
According to Rajnish Jain, a commission agent for cotton from Maur, today only 80 quintals of cotton arrived in the mandi instead of 800 quintals a day around this time in the past.
In this year’s cotton market, cotton growers are getting a premium price of Rs 8,500 per quintal due to a shortage of cotton and high demand.
Private traders are paying almost Rs 2,000 per quintal over and above the MSP, which the CCI has not purchased from the state.
According to cotton growers, officials in the Agriculture Department and CCI, the main reason for this year’s decline is the fall in acreage under the crop and attacks by pink bollworm and whitefly.
According to them, unauthorised sale of cotton seeds by some Gujarat-based agents also contributed to the poor quality of the crop.
During electioneering for the Assembly polls, these agents set up mobile shops in their private vehicles and sold seeds to cotton farmers.
According to a senior officer at the CCI, the fibre arriving in mandis of the state averaged 25-26 mm, compared with last year’s required 27.5-28.5 mm long staple fibre.
In the meantime, cotton ginning is suffering from a fall in production and an increase in prices.
In the state, there are 81 cotton ginning units, of which most have expressed their inability to start operations due to the lack of raw cotton.
Bhagwan Bansal, patron of the Punjab Cotton Factories and Ginners Association, said it was important to ensure high-quality seeds and expand farming areas. Many units are requesting permission to become rice mills. It is likely that the state’s ginning industry will shut down if proactive measures are not taken,” he warned.