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99 Yatra
Kutch farmers prosper with cotton
09 August 2007

AHMEDABAD: It is not only rapid industrialisation after the earthquake, but also diversification in crop pattern from traditional crops to cotton that has helped Kutch to become prosperous.  This year, cotton sowing has covered more than 65,000 hectares compared to about 58,000 hectares in talukas like Anjar, Abdasa, Mandvi, Mundra, Rapar, Bhuj and also Nakhatrana — which, entered the diversification experiment this year only — says spokesman of Kutch Cotton Association Sharad H Bhatia.

Kutch produced about 6.5 lakh cotton bales this year. This is double compared to last year’s 3 lakh bales. With adequate ginning factories available here, the premium quality of cotton of Kutch will fetch handsome return of Rs 1,000 crore for its farmers, says Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), Rajkot, manager, SK Chaturvedi. Besides, allied activities like processing, transportation, warehousing, etc will also earn another Rs 200 crore.

The spinning mills of southern states are direct buyers for this premium cotton. Due to easy availability of port facilities adjacent to this area, the cotton grown here can easily be exported. Farmers here have accorded top priority to Bt cotton, which has given good yield per acre, Mr Bhatia added. Kutch farmers, in fact, were the first in country to experiment with the Bt cotton, he claimed. Kutch cotton fetches higher prices than cotton grown in other areas as the crop in this region gets saline water, which is the best suited for this crop.

Now, cotton growers are planning to set up their own auction yard in agriculture produce market committee at Anjar for its sale and purchase. Farmers, who used to grow crops like bajri, guar and groundnut, preferred to diversify into cotton on the advice of scientists from Technology Mission on Cotton.

Apart from the technical seminars, wherein the scientists from the Sardar Patel Agriculture University, Bhachau Extension Centre, apprise the farmers about the optimum use of fertilisers and pesticides, the CCI also distributes fertilisers, pesticides and accessories kit to promote the cultivations of contamination-free premium quality cotton, says Mr Chaturvedi.

Courtesy: Economic Times - India kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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