The state government has starting cotton purchases from November 15 onwards at minimum support price (MSP)wards but this will not provide relief to farmers who have suffered a double whammy of poor yield due to dry spell and plummeting rates. Cotton farmers are looking at a rate of at least Rs.6000 a quintal which will help them recover their expenses. This time, with elections over there is no political demand to raise the MSP that is rather low.
The peak MSP of cotton is Rs 4050 a quintal with the rate coming down to Rs 3850 for lower grades. Growers are worried that the dry spell may have hampered the quality of produce which may not fit into criterion and they may have to accept a price below Rs 4050 a quintal.
After the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), expressed its inability saying it had no funds, government tied up with cash-rich Cotton Corporation of India (CCI). This is a commercial organization under the ministry of textiles. NAFED is the agency that normally carries out MSP operations. Arranging for MSP purchases was a tough affair for the state.
N P Hirani, chairman, Maharashtra State Cotton Growers Marketing Federation, said that initially there would be 27 centres with preparations to raise the number to 100 as arrivals increase. The state has provided federation with Rs 30 crore on the basis of which it will get a bank guarantee of Rs 120 crore to start procurement initially. Further purchases will begin as and when makes payments for the cotton it buys from the federation.
The federation had passed a resolution asking for a MSP of Rs 6,000 a quintal as the current MSP was not enough. Cultivators incur a cost of as much as Rs 5,550 a quintal for growing cotton.
According to Vijay Jawandhiya, a veteran farmer leader, the Centre or state government should announce an additional subsidy of Rs 2,000 a quintal for farmers to make cotton growing viable.
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