Vidarbha which is always linked with agricultural crisis due to rains during the last fortnight have changed the situation. The cotton crop is now expected to give a record yield. Last year was marred by a drought and excessive rains had hit the farmers the year before.
However, experts feel that good harvest may not be met with good prices. Cotton rates are expected to reign below the minimum support price (MSP) of 4,050 a quintal. At present, lint is being quoted at 33,000 a bale, which translates into 3,700 a quintal for raw cotton.
This is because of low demand, especially in China, a major importer, and sizeable leftover stock of last year. If not below MSP, the rates may be only marginally more than the MSP. The higher yield may only provide a saving grace.
The going has been good so far. If there are moderate showers in September and October, the yield may be the highest in the last five years, said an officer in the state's agriculture department, which is responsible for gathering field data.
The officer from Amravati division of Vidarbha, which is the major cotton growing area, said that the recent round of showers has also washed away the dry spell in Akola and Buldhana, which were lagging behind. As far as cotton is concerned, this can be considered to be one of the best years. Cotton yields are expected to be high this year, at around five quintals an acre.
However, the weather has to remain conducive in the coming days. The showers in September have to be moderate. If it rains excessively, the crops will be damaged and the growth will be hampered if it does not rain, the source said.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) said that it is likely that the cotton yield may go up to six quintals per acre. In the last two years, it was just a couple of quintals an acre on average. But low prices may play spoilsport. The open market rates may fall below the MSP.
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