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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cotton production to scale a new high

Cotton production in the district is set to scale new heights at a time when the demand of raw cotton is on a rise following the abolition of export quotas in the textile sector effective January 1, 2005.

To increase production and productivity of quality cotton, the Department of Agriculture plans to implement Intensive Cotton Development Scheme under Mini Mission II of Technology Mission on Cotton in the district on an outlay of Rs. 17.05 lakh.

"Our aim is to increase the area under cotton cultivation from 8,000 hectares in the last financial year to 11,250 ha before the end of the current fiscal," said Shahul Hameed, Joint Director of Agriculture.

Similarly, productivity would be increased from 117 kg of lint a hectare achieved in the last fiscal to 355 kg.

On the salient features of the scheme, Mr. Hameed said financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 1.9 lakh would be extended to select farmers for production of certified seeds from the breeder seeds.

The department would distribute 10 kg of breeder seeds to the farmers for the production of foundation seeds at the farmers' holdings itself, he said.

The seeds thus multiplied will be procured by the department and once again multiplied into certified seeds at different farms.

A total of 7, 000 kg of certified seeds were expected to be produced and later distributed to farmers at a rate of Rs. 20 a kg to ensure higher yield, Mr Hameed said.

On the other components of the scheme, he said seed treatment chemicals worth Rs. 4,200 would be distributed to kill pathogens, if any, in the seeds, prior to sowing. Application of chemicals would avoid seed-borne diseases in the plant.

Besides, 12 pheromone traps, costing Rs. 63,000, to control the field pests, and bio-control agents worth Rs. 2.02 lakh would also be distributed to the farmers. Bio-control agents such as Basillus thuringiensis and Azadirectin would help combat bollworms, he said. The rest of the fund would be used to distribute hand and power sprayers (Rs. 4.56 lakh), 22,900 packets of bio-fertilizers (Rs. 34,400), four tonnes of micro nutrient mixture and miscellaneous expenses.

Source : The Hindu

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