BHAWANIPATNA: Even as the unseasonal rain in last week of May affected the standing paddy crop in many pockets of Kalahandi district, it was helpful for the cotton cultivators for the ensuing kharif season. The rain helped the farmers prepare their crop field for cotton farming well in advance. This year, cotton farming is targeted to cover 45,850 hectares (ha) against last year’s 43,056 ha.
The subject matter specialist (cotton) Narayan Upadhyay said about 90 per cent of field preparation for cotton cultivation in the district is over. As the Met office has forecast comparatively weak monsoon this year, it will be helpful for the cotton farmers, he added.
Steps have been taken to introduce high density plantation in 80 ha on experiment basis by using specific variety of seed grown for Kalahandi area where 60,000 to 70,000 plants per ha will be cultivated against around 4,500 plants in the last year. Targeted farmers have been trained accordingly. It will help them produce 25 to 30 quintals of cotton per ha for which 10 quintals of BH-279 variety of cotton seed will be used.
Following successful experiment in last year, inter-cropping of cotton and Kandula (a local variety of pulses) with a ratio of eight rows of cotton and two rows of Kandula will be encouraged among the farmers. It will generate additional income for the farmers, he said.
In Odisha, cotton is a non-irrigated crop. But this year, cotton is targeted to grow in 13 ha in the irrigated pocket of Kusmsila village on experiment basis to extract long staple cotton, Upadhyay said. Further, there will be integrated crop management by application of balanced dose of fertilizer with organic manure, micro nutrient and weed management.
Upadhyay said the supply of cotton seed is being made by the private parties and Agriculture department will only supply 10 quintals of BH-279 seed for high density cotton farming.
Cotton cultivation in the district has been successful due to suitable soil, climatic conditions, proper transfer of technology and acceptance by the farmers.
Now Kalahandi is the lead cotton producing district of the State and has got its place in the cotton map of India. Facilities of spinning mill and oil exploration from cotton seeds will also help farmers get better price, he added.
There is a need for setting up a spinning mill in Kalahandi for processing the cotton and upgrading Konark Spinning Mill at Kesinga. The mill has only ginning facility and recently initiatives were taken to set up infrastructures under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). Besides, in order to utilise cotton seed commercially and explore oil extraction, a separate mill should be set up, the specialist said.