Relentless monsoon rains hit cotton crop in Maharashtra
Farmers now focussing more on soyaben crops
The relentless monsoon rains, which have ravaged large parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada region of Maharashtra, has now started affecting the cotton crop.
Local farmers and leaders of Shetkari Sangthana want early procurement of cotton by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers’ Marketing Federation Ltd (Mahacot) as exposure to excess of rains and lack of labour force for plucking cotton is affecting the crop.
They have also demanded that procurement norm of moisture content in cotton should be increased so that farmers could sell more cotton to the CCI and Mahacot. They are also facing massive labour problems in plucking cotton crop.
In Yavatmal district, the problem is more acute. Out of the total cotton production of Maharashtra, almost 15 per cent is from that district. Last year almost 55 lakh quintal (100kg) cotton was procured under MSP prices from the district.
Member of the core committee of Shetkari Sangthana, Balubhai Niwal said that this year the rains have started early and have not yet subsided. Both cotton and soyabean crops are up harvesting, but due to excess rains, farmers are now focussing more on soyabean as it has short harvesting window and almost 70 per cent soyabean is yet to be harvested. It has resulted in labour shortage for cotton picking, he said.
He said that in the open market sale, very early picked cotton crop with 18-22 per cent moisture is fetching ₹4,500 per quintal, which is way below the MSP of ₹5,825 per quintal. On the other hand, the online enrolment with CCI for selling cotton has also picked up rapidly. Per weeks almost about 6,000 farmers from one taluka are enrolling. The farmers fear that in the open market they will not get even the MSP, therefore, they are moving towards CCI and Mahacot and now it is the responsibility of CCI and Mahacot to buy cotton early, Niwal said.
Agriculture expert and cotton framer from Yavatmal, Milind Damle said that a minimum of eight per cent moisture is present in cotton for every one quintal. At eight per cent, the farmers get ₹5,825 as MSP and every one per cent increase in moisture leads to a one per cent decline in MSP.
However, the moisture content is capped at 12 per cent by CCI and Mahacot. This cap should be increased to 18 per cent given the present circumstances. Framers are willing for lesser remuneration but at MSP rates. In the open market the farmers will get much less money for their cotton, Damle said.
Source : thehindubusinessline