BHAWANIPATNA : Cotton will be raised on 55,000 hectares (ha) of land in the current kharif season across Kalahandi, one of the major cotton growing districts in the State. With weather being conducive, sowing of cotton seeds has been completed on 45,550 ha and by next week, coverage will exceed the targeted area, said agriculture officials. Each hectare gives a yield of eight to 10 quintals.
Kalahandi district contributes 40 per cent of total cotton production in the State and the crop grown here is in huge demand due to its high fibrous and organic qualities. No chemical fertiliser or pesticide is used in the cultivation unlike in other cotton-growing States.
There is an increasing demand in both national and international markets for organic cotton, said District Subject Matter Specialist (Cotton) Narayan Upadhaya, adding that traders from different parts of the country procure cotton from Kalahandi.
Cotton is grown primarily in Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Golamunda, Narla, Karlamund and Lanjigarh blocks of the district as an alternative cash crop due to presence of black soil that is suitable for its cultivation. In 2015-16, there was a target to cover 50,000 ha of land under cotton cultivation and the achievement was 46,152 ha. In 2016-17 kharif season, as against target of 55,000 ha, the achievement was 53,001 ha.
Upadhaya said the Agriculture department is providing technical support to farmers for growing the cash crop.
However, in the absence of marketing facilities and support from Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), farmers fail to gain from the crop. Adequate number of mandis are not opened for procurement as a result of which, farmers are forced to resort to distress sale and they blame the State Government for the situation.