Losses in early cotton
Mohammad Hussain Khan
16, 2011: COTTON growers in lower Sindh especially in
Sanghar district have suffered germination losses owing to
questionable variety of seeds and very early crop sowing.
Many of them are cultivating the crop afresh,
incurring extra expenditure.
According to estimates of the agriculture department
officials, 35 per cent of the area normally set for cotton
crop has so far been brought under cultivation.
“The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has not set the
target for the current year’s cotton production so far
amidst report that agriculture is now a devolved subject and
its job would be carried out by provincial agriculture
For the same reason the FCA’s meeting has not been held as
yet, says Amin Thebo, an official of the crop reporting
He says last year cotton was cultivated over a target area
of 650,000 hectares in Sindh, but the unprecedented floods
ruined the crop over a vast area on the right bank’s katcha
and settled areas reducing it to 475,000 hectares.
There are various reasons behind the damage to the current
crop such as unusual climatic conditions particularly
northern winds, the unsuitable sowing period, and the
quality of seed.
Sowing of cotton is recommended in early April in the lower
region of Sindh. But in the current season, cotton growers
started its cultivation as early as February and March after
persuasion by seed providers, who claimed that early sowing
would give a better yield.
“I myself opted for Tarzan-I variety of BT cotton which is
an early maturing variety with 100 maund per acre yield. But
the weather did not support the crop,” says Thebo. Growers
had sown the seed in March but its germination was badly
Sanghar is an important district for cotton production, and
according to official figures, this district cultivates over
135,500 hectares. But the growers of the district are also
complaining of huge losses owing to early sowing of the crop
and are re-cultivating the crop.
In other cases, cultivators were filling the gaps in their
lands where seed germination had been affected, and are
incurring extra expenditure on seed, labour and other
outputs. In several cases, growers were told to sow 701
seed, a variety of BT cotton that reportedly yields 100
maunds per acre, but it did not work and the growers
suffered huge losses.
“There is a tendency among many cotton growers that they do
not clear their lands of cotton crop and keep them intact
till the next Kharif season as clearing of cotton fields and
preparing them for the Rabi wheat requires lot of
investment. They keep picking cotton from the fields
regardless of the quantity as even one maund of cotton per
acre gives them reasonable income as compared to wheat,”
says Haji Nadeem Shah of Matiari. The growers got Rs4,600 –
4775 per 40 kg for last year’s cotton, he added.
According to estimates, land preparation and per acre sowing
of cotton requires between Rs30,000-35,000 including cost of
diesel, tractor and pesticides. This year this will increase
further in view of recent hike in petroleum and fertiliser
Farmers in many cases do not grow wheat to avoid cost of
inputs and feel comfortable even with minimum possible per
acre yield of cotton till December. In the next Kharif
season they go for fresh cotton crop cultivation,” says a
Mirpurkhas-based cotton grower Mir Zafarullah Talpur. He
also reports similar sort of damages to cotton crop in other
parts of Mirpurkhas region.
Amanullah Shah of Sanghar district says, “I have ploughed
land afresh where germination on below 25 per cent area is
affected.” He has cultivated cotton over 60-70 acres.
Growers used seeds 506 and 121 that gave the required
germination results,” he says. “We will fill the gaps where
seed germination has been poor,” he says.
Under the existing circumstances the growers have no option
but to go for late sowing of cotton crop. Niaz Hussain
Bodani of Sanghar used Sitara 008 for the first time and it
failed to give the required result on 13 acres out of 35
acres on early sowing. “Normally, we sow cotton in April, he
“Cotton requires moderate weather and preferably spring
season. Abnormal recent weather conditions( when temperature
remained unusually high during March) played a critical role
in the germination of seed and consequently damaged the
crop, he says.
Courtesy: The DAWN