Increased acreage revives hopes for cotton farmers in Punjab and Haryana

11/17/2017

Punjab’s cotton acreage increases by 50 percent while Haryana records a 30 percent rise

Chandigarh, Friday, November 17, 2017: This season, farmers in Punjab and Haryana are hopeful that cotton will regain its lost ground as the cotton acreage has increased significantly. In Punjab, area under cotton cultivation is up from 2.56 lakh hectares last Kharif season to 3.83 lakh hectares this year while in Haryana, the area under cotton cultivation is up from 4.96 lakh hectares to 6.46 lakh hectares.

In both the states, majority of farmers prefer cotton hybrids having Bollgard®II technology. In entire northern cotton belt, it is observed that the farmers who adhere to recommended agro-practices reap better yields.

Salinder Singh, Regional Sales Manager, Monsanto said, "Farmers who had planted hybrid seeds in recommended sowing window i.e. before May 15, and had observed recommended Economic Threshold Level (ETL) based sucking pest management practices are set to secure good crop yield. Considering light to medium soil type and limited irrigation resources in cotton belt of Punjab and Haryana; farmers opt cotton crop over paddy and guar."

In Punjab - Fazilka, Bathinda, Mansa and Shri Muktsar Sahib are key cotton growing districts whereas in Haryana - Sirsa, Hisar, Jind and Bhiwani are major cotton growing districts.

Ravikant Gaidhar, a farmer from village Karnikhera, district Fazilka, Punjab said, "In our district, the season has progressed really well. The weather has been promising; hence, we are seeing a potential for above average crop. Because of Bt-cotton cultivation, per hectare yield has fetched better returns through the past few years."

Since, Punjab and Haryana’s economies are led by agriculture, farmer education initiatives are important. Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Ltd. (MMB) has undertaken extensive farmer awareness campaigns under the project "Sankalp". In this project MMB has partnered with Indian Cotton Association Limited (ICAL), Bathinda to educate farmers on the right crop – management practices.

Virender Arya, a farmer from village Mayyar, district Hisar, Haryana had been benefitted by the project Sankalp. He says, "The team’s support has enabled us to tackle the issue of infestation. Besides, through their active engagement, we have also learnt the right methods of cultivation which consists of land selection, field preparation, seed rate, seed treatment, sowing method, manures, fertilization, nutrient supply, irrigation, weed control, disease and insect management, harvesting and yield. This awareness has helped the farmer community to effectively deal with adverse weather condition and to derive maximum yields."

Biotechnology in cotton post its introduction in the year 2002 has led to transformational changes in cotton cultivation in the country. Bollgard® technologies have helped increase cotton yields by nearly 4 times from 191 kg/ hectare lint in 2002 – 2003 to 532 kg/ hectare lint in 2013 – 2014. This has led to significant increase in farmer incomes from higher yields and reduced usage of insecticides thereby helping generate an additional farm income of over Rs. 110,000 crores. India today is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of cotton and stands at the cusp of becoming the largest producer globally.

About Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) - a 50:50 joint venture between Mahyco and Monsanto Holdings Pvt. Ltd. has sub-licensed the Bollgard II® and Bollgard® technologies to over 40 Indian seed companies each of whom have introduced the Bollgard® technologies into their own germplasm. Indian farmers have a choice of over 800 Bt cotton hybrid seeds.

Bollgard® cotton provides in-built protection for cotton against destructive American Bollworm Heliothis Armigera infestations, and contains an insecticidal protein from a naturally occurring soil microorganism, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Bollgard® II technology contains a superior double-gene technology - Cry1Ac and Cry 2Ab which provides protection against bollworms and Spodoptera caterpillar, leading to better boll retention, maximum yield, lower pesticides costs, and protection against insect resistance.

For more information, please contact:

Arun Gopalakrishnan
Lead – Corporate Communications, Monsanto India t +91 22 2824 7427
m 77382 83718 / 9820517588
arun.gopalakrishnan@monsanto.com

Karan Datt
Genesis Burson-Marsteller t +91 22 4417 4501 
m  9920605308
karan.datt@bm.com