Cotton

Labour worries, low prices haunt cotton growers across the country

This year cotton traders across the country fear a 10-15 per cent dip in area, as low prices and lower than expected yields drive farmers away from the crop

Cotton growers India Complaining of higher costs, and worries around labour, farmers in Maharashtra have found cotton to be not as profitable as it once was. (Express Photo)

Cotton— a crop which was once considered as “White Gold” for farmers in Akola, has now become a crop of “compulsion”, according to them. Complaining of higher costs, and worries around labour, farmers in Maharashtra have found cotton to be not as profitable as it once was.

Ganesh Nanote from Akola grows the lint crop over 15 of his 40 acre holding in the village of Nimbhara in Barsitakli taluka, says that the yearly increase in cost of production, especially for labour, has made the crop almost non-viable for farmers. “But there is no other option– tur,urad and other pulses have their own problems. Farmers take cotton out of compulsion and not profit anymore,” he said.

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This year cotton traders across the country fear a 10-15 per cent dip in area, as low prices and lower than expected yields drive farmers away from the crop. The shift is more visible in North India where farmers have shifted to paddy, rather than try their luck with cotton, despite a much higher government declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 7,121/quintal. Bhagirath Choudhary, founder director of South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) said the shift is mostly due to Pink Bollworm infestation (PBW)–- the dreaded pest plaguing the cotton crop. “The agriculture department has to take up the work of raising awareness among farmers on how to control pests”, Bagirath added.

Pradeep Jain, founder president of Khandesh Cotton Gin/Press Factory Owners and Traders Development Association, said that cotton sowing areas in North Maharashtra have dipped by 20 per cent. “Farmers did not get yield or price as per their expectation. Many farmers have shifted to maize, pulses and other crops,” he said. Across the country, dip might be around 10 per cent for the upcoming season, he speculated.


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First uploaded on: 09-07-2024 at 22:02 IST


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