Cotton seed companies in Punjab have reported low demand for BT cotton seeds, the variety that accounts for most of the cotton grown in the country.
This is due to the farmers shifting to other crops, especially paddy and maize, which yield higher returns.
Accordingly, cotton acreage in the state this kharif season is expected to drop by 15-20 per cent despite an 8 per cent discount in price of seeds this year. If the sowing doesn’t pick up pace, it is likely to affect the revival of cotton in Punjab, where acreage under the cash crop had jumped by about half in 2017-18.
Cotton, especially BT cotton, was grown over 12.2million hectares in India in 2017-18.
In recent years, pest infestation, high input costs and drop in earnings in cotton have hit farmers hard.