Staff Reporter

Prices in open market touch Rs. 3,100 per quintal

Government has offered an MSP of Rs.3,000

GUNTUR: Cotton farmers in the district are keeping their fingers crossed.

The cotton prices in the open market have touched an all-time high and the demand for cotton exports has peaked at a time when fears linger over the prospects of a normal cultivation this year.

The prices of cotton in the open market have peaked to Rs. 3,100 per quintal higher than the Minimum Support Price of Rs.3,000 offered by the government.

Sources in the Cotton Corporation of India told The Hindu that the demand for export of quality cotton was expected to touch 60 lakh quintals double the amount of bales exported in 2008.

The demand from Gulf countries was also expected to go up.

The CCI was also worried over prospects of farmers resorting to selling quality cotton in the open market.

Stringent norms

Thanks to stringent norms imposed on ginning mills, the procurement this year had hit an all-time low of 1.35 lakh quintals in the district as against a record purchase of 2 lakh quintals in 2008.

Production down

But the enthusiasm over high prices might be short lived as production all over the country was expected to scale down from 3.10 crore tonnes to 2.70 crore tonnes this year.

Even in Andhra Pradesh, first signs of harvest in Nalgonda, Khammam and Kurnool districts had indicated a shortfall in production and the delayed sowing in coastal districts was also expected to result in shortfall in production. Against this back drop, the Cotton Corporation of India was expected to open nine centres in Guntur district.