Wednesday, January 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cotton growers reap good profit
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 28
The cotton growers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have made good profit this year as a result of hike in the prices of American cotton in the region. There is a hike of 40 per cent in the prices of American cotton this year as compared with the prices during the last year. Prices remained between Rs 2,150 to Rs 2,200 per quintal this year as compared with the prices of Rs 1,650 to Rs 1,700 per quintal last year.

Sources point out that cotton growers will increase the area under hybrid cotton crop next year in view of the good returns they have got this year.

The area under cotton has decreased this year due to drought-like conditions in the state. It went down to 4.5 lakh hectares this year, while it was 6.10 lakh hectares last year. Although the cotton production went down due to decrease in area and drought, the overall quality of the crop and yield were better this year. The cotton yield was up by 15 to 20 per cent this year.

The Pepsu line of cotton belt comprising Budhladha, Bretta, Maur and Rampura Phul had a better yield of cotton against the belt comprising Abohar, Malout, Fazilka and Muktsar. The cotton growers of Pepsu line had brought more area under hybrid seeds.

In order to encourage cotton growers to bring more area under hybrid seeds, the CII has been organising functions to give cash prizes to the best cotton growers for the past two years. Some of the cotton mills of Punjab have been sponsoring these prizes. The first cash prize consists of Rs 25,000 followed by the second prize of Rs 20,000 and the third prize of Rs 15,000. This step has helped the cotton growers to take more pains to raise good cotton crop, claims Mr D.L. Sharma, executive director, Mahavir Spinning Mills. Farmers have got up to 14 quintals of cotton per acre against an average of five quintals, he says.

The cotton arrivals in various mandis of Punjab circle, comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, range between 7,000 to 8,000 bales daily. Mandis of Punjab are getting about 3,000 bales of cotton daily with Abohar, Mansa and Malout getting 500 bales of cotton each daily.

According to Mr Sharma, the country will have to import 15 lakh bales of cotton this year to meet the capacity needs of spinning mills. The import of cotton has started and as many as 3.5 lakh bales have already been imported from the USA, Egypt and the CIS countries. The international prices of cotton have also gone up. Mr Sharma feels that Bt cotton is no solution to the pest attack on the cotton crop. The solution lies in sowing better hybrids and with judicious integrated pest control.

The country is expected to have 140 lakh bales of cotton this year against 158 lakh bales of last year, thus indicating a fall of 10 per cent in the production. Drought has affected cotton production in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In view of the fall in production, cotton prices in the two states have also remained firm and were quoted at Rs 2,200 to 2,400 per quintal.

The total area under cotton crop was 78 lakh hectare this year and it would increase by 10 per cent at least, they estimate.



PAU don given warm send-off
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, January 28
Dr Sodhi was given a warm send-off by the staff and students of Punjab agricultural University here today.
Dr Malwinder Singh Tiwana, Dean, College of Agriculture, said that Dr Sodhi's qualities should be emulated by students. Dr Sodhi worked in different capacities ,including that of District Extension specialist (Agronomy) at Patiala and Gurdaspur, respectively.

Then, he joined as Assistant Professor of Agronomy and rose to the position of Senior Agronomist. He edited Journal of Research for more than nine years.

Dr Sodhi was associated with teaching, research and extension activities of the university.

Appreciating the role of Dr Sodhi, Dr Darshan Singh, Additional Director of Research (Agriculture.), said that Dr Sodhi had won accolades during his tenure as Senior Editor, Research, in the PAU Directorate of Research where he was associated with the editing of the Journal of Research and handling work of diverse scientific reporting and documentation.

He was instrumental in improving the presentation of the journal and in making it up-to-date. Dr Lall Singh Brar, Prof and Head, Department of Agronomy and Agrometerology, PAU, said that Dr Sodhi was a soft- spoken and popular figure . As member of the PAU Library Advisory Committee and the Research Evaluation Committee, he had played a very positive role. 


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