Cotton cultivation declining in India

New Delhi: India’s cotton cultivation has taken a hit with an 8% decline in 2016 and the national cotton acreage has shrunk from 128 L hectare to 118 L hectare, as per statistics released by Cotton Corporation of India.

A large number of cotton growing farmers are supposed to have switched to food crops such as soybean for better returns this time. The CCI had earlier predicted higher cotton acreage for 2015-16. Now, the total cotton output of India is also expected to be a dismal 352 lakh bales, compared to the 380 lakh bales a year ago.

Barring Punjab, Gujarat and MP, all cotton growing states have witnessed a huge drop in acreage this year. Tamil Nadu topped the chart with one-third of the cotton land going to other crops. Maharashtra – the second largest cotton growing state in the country after Gujarat – has witnessed a 9% decline (from 42 lakh hectare to 38 lakh hectare) in cotton sowing. Generally, farmers prefer cotton as it requires lesser water. Recession in the global market last year, however, has led to a crash in cotton prices, which has alerted the growers now. In addition, poor yield, high cultivation cost and decreasing resistance of BT cotton have made it less lucrative over the years, according to activists.