Punjab to face 5-7 pc loss in cotton output due to rain

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Chandigarh, Sept 16 (PTI) Punjab is likely to face cotton output loss of 5-7 per cent on account of heavy rains that have caused widespread damage to the crop, pushing up prices in anticipation of shortages.
“The overall loss to cotton crop could be in the range of 5 to 7 per cent because of rains which have caused extensive damage to crop in Bathinda, Muktsar and Fazilka areas of Punjab,” a senior official of Punjab Agriculture Department told PTI here today.
According to the reports compiled by the department, close to 90,000 hectares (which is 16 per cent of total sown area) has been hit due to torrential rains, submerging the crop at several places in Bathinda, Muktsar and Fazilka.
“Rains at this stage are extremely harmful for the cotton crop as it causes discolouration, prevents cotton boll bursting process and enhances moisture content in the crop,” the official said, adding that the quality of crop will also be severely hit.
The central government had said yesterday that India”s cotton production is estimated to touch a record 361 lakh bales (of 170 kg each) in the 2011-12 crop season (October- September), overtaking last year”s record of 334.2 lakh bales.
Area under cotton in Punjab is pegged at 5.60 lakh hectares, with projected output of 22 lakh bales in Kharif season.
“We were estimating cotton output to reach 24-25 lakh bales in the wake of conducive weather prevailing earlier…
but after the adverse weather conditions at the picking stage, the production could go below 22 lakh bales,” the official said.
Meanwhile, traders said that prices of ginned cotton have surged sharply, up Rs 1,000 per maund (37.324 kg), to Rs 4,500 per maund in the last five days on fears of delays in crop arrival and high moisture content.
“Cotton rates in spot market have been rising on the news of cotton crop loss caused by rains and delay in arrival,” said Bhagwan Bansal at the Punjab Cotton Factory Ginners� Association.
As against the arrival of 4,000 bales last season by this point of time, Punjab has seen negligible arrival of crop at just 500 bales in mandis, traders said.
“Usually crop arrival picks up from September 20, but this year due to rains, the arrival could accelerate only in the month of October,” Bansal said.

Source: http://www.indiareport.com/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/1086521/National/1/20/1

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