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Rise in cotton MSP, rain may arrest fall in acreage

Cotton traders are hopeful that an increase in the minimum support price (MSP) and good rains last week will encourage planting of the crop and arrest the fall in acreage to about 10 per cent of the previous year.

According to data released by the agriculture ministry, cotton sowing as on July 5 was trailing by 25 per cent from a year ago. Cotton had been sown on 54.60 lakh hectares compared with 73.02 lakh hectares in the corresponding period of 2017.

Lower acreage has been reported from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, while Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have reported an increase in area.

The central government recently increased the MSP of medium-staple and long-staple cotton by 28.11 per cent and 26.16 per cent, respectively.

“Had the MSP of cotton not been increased, farmers would have reduced area under the crop, as they were unhappy with returns it gave in the previous year,” said Atul Ganatra, president, Cotton Association of India (CAI).

CAI, which has pegged 2017-18 cotton production at 365 lakh bales of 170 kg each, expects the 2018-19 cotton crop to stand between 350 lakh and 375 lakh bales. The industry was fearing a higher fall in cotton acreage. However, since the past one week, cotton sowing has gathered pace.

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