Farmers in Wardha district, cultivating Surpass (Firstclass) a high lint cotton variety obtained good results in an experimental project conducted by Bayer Crop Sciences (BCS) a German company in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Textile Industry, Cotton Development and Research Association (CITI-CDRA), Maharashtra ICAR-CIRCOT (Central Institute for Research in Cotton Technology), Maharashtra agriculture department, Wardha District Textile Mill, GIMATEX (Mohta Mills) Hinganghat, Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), ICAR Krishi Vigyan Kendra, and scientists from agriculture universities.
The two-year experimental project was conducted in 30 villages with 7500 farmers, said Bayer officials. The farmers, besides being advised to take Surpass-Firstclass hybrid, were continuously educated in good agricultural practices for higher yield, optimum fertilizer use, other varieties with better lint content, minimizing total input cost, knowledge about market prices, various government schemes and training programmes.
GH Wairale, project coordinator CITI-CDRA said that Bayer was there not just to promote its variety. They never provided any physical input to farmers in the form of seeds or fertilizers etc. They were advising farmers to take up other varieties with higher ginning percentage (GP). This year, one of the farmers with very high lint content was given Rs6,000 per quintal instead of the market price of Rs5,500 at Pulgaon by a ginner. This brought mutual benefit to both grower and buyer,
City unit in charge of CIRCOT Sudeep Shukla said that they have been monitoring GP of varieties in the country and state, especially Vidarbha, for past few years. The Bayer claims are not exaggerated. Tests show Surpass Firstclass hybrids have GP percentage from 36.2 to 39.5 percen. Other 10-12 hybrids tested from the market had GP from 27.1 to 34.8 percent . If GP is considered a major factor in deciding cotton price, farmers as well as ginner could benefit.
According to Sharad Ramekar, market development manager from BCS, most Indian hybrids have a GP of 28-32, but Bayer has developed two varieties with GP of 38-42 percent, which is equivalent to cotton from best cotton growing countries like Ethiopia in Africa and Australia. Now, government should develop a mechanism to measure GP at purchase by ginners, with higher MSP for higher GP. This will increase profit for farmers and ginners.
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