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Cotton Production in Gujarat's Saurashtra Region Could Be Delayed Due to Floods

The latest spell of heavy rains in Gujarat may appear to have saved the State from sinking into a drought, but for the current kharif crops such as cotton, it has pushed back the harvest period by at least 15 days and also weakened the prospects of kharif groundnut due to waterlogging.

Ayushi Raina
Cotton farmers
Cotton farmers

The recent spate of significant rains in Gujarat has prevented the state from drought, but it has pushed back the harvest period for present kharif crops such as cotton by at least 15 days and has also damaged the prospects of Kharif groundnut owing to waterlogging.

In most areas of the Saurashtra region, heavy rains began on Sunday and continued until Tuesday morning, causing rivers to swell and fields to flood. “An early-sown groundnut crop was ready for harvest. And it will decay in such a moist climate. Some late-sown groundnut would be unaffected” according to Ramesh Bhoraniya, a farmer from Rajkot.

He also voiced concern about the rains delaying the start of the cotton crop's initial harvest. “The cotton bolls were unable to open fully. So, until we have enough heat and sunlight, we don't see it happening. As a result, there will be a delay in first picking,” he explained.

Saurashtra has around 15.58 lakh hectares of cotton planted, accounting for almost 70% of the state's total cotton acreage of 22.51 lakh hectares. Saurashtra also contains almost 80% of the state's total 19.09 lakh hectares of groundnuts or 15.34 lakh hectares.

According to farmer sources, short-duration crops like moong and urad were ready for harvest and might have been hit by the monsoon's intensity. The two pulses cover around 16,000 and 29,200 hectares of land, respectively.

The two crops have experienced good sowing, with urad cultivation increasing by 50% over the previous year and moong area increasing by around 4%. Another source of concern is the sesame-seed crop. With 50,500 hectares, Saurashtra has the most land dedicated to sesame-seed production in the state.

“Sesame seeds were ripe for harvesting. And the flooding would wreak havoc on the crop,” added another farmer. The Gujarat government will undertake a crop damage survey.

Total Kharif planting in the state has reached 82.83 lakh hectares, which is roughly 3% less than the previous year's total of 85.11 lakh hectares. Due to the delayed monsoon, the area of both the primary Kharif crops, groundnut, and cotton, has decreased marginally compared to the previous year.

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