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Editorial . . .

              arly	arrival	of	the	southwest	monsoon	over	Kerala	coast	  is	expected	to	remain	stable,	whereas		in	Haryana	there	could	be
              this	time	has	spread	optimism	all	round.		After	the	onset	  some	interchange	between	paddy	and	cotton.
        Eover	the	southern	state,	the	rains	usually	take	nearly	two	  As	for	Gujarat,	the	country’s	largest	cotton	producing	state,
        weeks	to	cover	the	peninsula	after	which	they	move	further	to	  Ganatra	feels	there	could	be	a	2-3	per	cent	increase		in	the	area
        most	 parts	 of	 the	 country	 by	 July.	 The	 India	 Meteorological	  under the fibre crop, as farmers are seen switching from groundnut
        Department	(IMD)	announced:	The	southwest	monsoon	has	set	  to	cotton.
        over	Kerala	on	May	29,	three	days	ahead	of	its	normal	date.	  According	 to	 reports,	 Gujarat	 has	 achieved	 considerable
           The	 monsoon	 is	 critical	 for	 Indian	 agriculture	 since	 nearly	  success	 in	 controlling	 the	 dreaded	 pink	 bollworm	 in	 Bt	 cotton
        60	 per	 cent	 of	 the	 country’s	 cropped	 area	                        by	 persuading	 farmers	 to	 adopt	 good
        lacks	assured	irrigation.	The	rural	economy,	                            agricultural	 practices.	 Gujarat’s	 success	 in
        therefore,	 is	 heavily	 dependent	 on	 a	 good	                         controlling	 the	 pest	 has	 served	 as	 a	 model
        monsoon.	IMD’s	second	long	range	forecast	                               for	 Maharashtra.	 The	 Khandesh	 	 Gin/
        confirms  its  earlier  prediction  of  a  normal                        Press	 Factory	 Association	 has	 started	 an
        southwest	 monsoon	 for	 the	 country	 as	 a	                            intense	 	 pest	 control	 campaign	 in	 Jalgaon,
        whole	during	the	four-month	period	ending	                               an	important	cotton	growing	area,		with	the
        September;	 	 but	 the	 south	 and	 northeast	                           help	of	major	cotton	institutes,	including	the
        regions	may	witness	‘below	normal’	rains.	                               South	 Asia	 Biotechnology	 Centre	 (SABC).
           Now	all	eyes	are	on	how	the	Kharif	sowing	                            A	 ‘Cotton	 Recipe	 Book’,	 being	 published
        is	progressing.	Initial	reports	show	that	cotton	                        for  the  benefit  of  farmers,  gives  elaborate
        sowing	is	lagging	behind,	compared	to	the	                               details	 on	 what	 goes	 into	 the	 production
        corresponding figure last year.  As on June 1,                           of	a	good	and	healthy	crop.	The	book	lists
        according to Agriculture Ministry’s figures,                             the	 good	 practices	 to	 be	 adopted	 from	 the
        the	area	sown	under	cotton	stood	at	9.96	lakh	                           day	 of	 sowing,	 what	 distance	 should	 be
        hectares,	compared	to	12.18	lakh	hectares	at	                            maintained	between	two	plants	and		proper
        this	time	last	year.		Although	it	is	too	early	                          use	 of	 herbicides	 and	 pesticides,	 besides
        to	 make	 an	 assessment,	 a	 disincentive	 for	                         a	 helpline	 number	 for	 farmers	 to	 speak	 to
        the	 growers	 this	 time	 is	 last	 year’s	 pink	                        experts.	Maharashtra	has	also	stepped	up	its
        bollworm	infestation.	According	to	President	                            vigil	against	co-marketing	of	Bt	cotton	seeds
        of	the	Cotton	Association	of	India	(CAI),	Atul	Ganatra,	the	cotton	  as	part	its	efforts	to	prevent	sale	of	illegal	varieties	in	the	market.
        acreage	this	year	could	end	up	at	around	110	lakh	hectares,	as	  The	 demand	 for	 local	 varieties	 of	 cotton	 is	 also	 gaining
        against	121	lakh	hectares	last	year.	                   momentum	 in	 Maharashtra,	 which	 has	 almost	 one-third	 of	 the
           State-wise,	 two	 states,	 Maharashtra	 and	 Telangana,	 which	  country’s	cotton	area.	Nagpur-based	Central	Institute	of	Cotton
        faced	high	level	of	pink	bollworm	attack	in	the	last	crop	season,	  Research	 has	 been	 conducting	 research	 to	 promote	 non-Bt
        could	see	a	sharp	drop	in	cotton	area,	with	growers	shifting	to	  cotton	varieties.	At	a	recent	Kharif	Review	meet,	Maharashtra’s
        soyabean.	In	Maharashtra,	the	cotton	acreage	could	drop	by	about	  Agriculture	Minister	Pandurang	Phundkar	said	that	around	one
        10-15	per	cent,	according	to	Ganatra.                   lakh	non-Bt	seed	packets	would	be	available	for	this	season.	This,
           The	area	under	cotton	in	Punjab	could	also	drop	by	8-10	per	  however,	is	not	enough	to	meet	the	demand.
        cent,	primarily	because	of	water	shortage.	In	Rajasthan,	the	area

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        JUNE 2018                                          SAARC                                                   5
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