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LAHORE: Initial surveys of the cotton sowing area by the provincial departments concerned suggest that area under sowing of cotton during current season remained slightly over 3.3 million acres of land which is almost 700,000 acres short of the target of 4 million acres assigned to the province.

The area under cotton cultivation last year was 3.821 million acres and it is decreasing continuously for the last three years. This year, it is estimated that area under cotton sowing will remain 3.31 million acres, showing a decline of 13.4 percent as compared to last years. However, the shortfall is more if it is calculated against the assigned target.

Sources in the Crop Reporting Services, Punjab, told the Business Recorder that by May 31, 2021, (cotton sowing season end date), area under cultivation was recorded at 3.115 million acres, which comes to 94.1 percent of the expected cultivated area.

However, they said that ‘Girdawari’ to ascertain the actual area under cotton sowing will be launched soon and final figures, hopefully, will be tabulated by the end of second week of June.

Break-up of the initial survey shows that cotton was sown 4 percent less in Sargodha Division as compared to last year, 23 percent less in Faisalabad, 16 percent less in Sahiwal, 19 percent less in Multan, 27 percent less in D G Khan and 3 percent less in Bahawalpur Division against last year.

Director General Agriculture (Extension) Dr Anjum Ali while talking to this scribe said they were still in the review phase of cotton sowing area. However, he said that initial figures suggest that it was sown over 3 million acres of land but the final figures would come by the middle of the current month. He also said that they were hoping 3.3 million acres of sowing was expected.

Asked about decline, he said that cotton has now a very stiff competition with the ‘maize’ crop which has more production per acre and bring more profit for the growers.

Dr Zafar Hayyat, Farmers Bureau Pakistan President and a Progressive Grower from Multan Division, claimed that cotton has sown over 25-30 percent less area in Shujaabad and Jalalpur Peer Wala, two major cotton growing areas this year. He claimed that big farmers having over 100 acres of land has reduced their area by 50 percent during the current season.

He said unavailability of ‘Germplasm’ having resistance against current weather and other hardships, poor germination rate of available seeds and lower plant vigor were the main reasons behind decline in cotton sowing. He said that available pesticides also do not have effective performance against white fly, thrips or Jassid, most harmful pests of the cotton crop. Farooq Ahmad Bajwa, a cotton grower from Bahawalnagar claimed that area under cotton cultivation would remain around 2.5 million acres and production will remain 4 million bales.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021