Tiruchirapalli

Cotton cultivators in delta districts in dire straits

Cotton cultivators in delta districts are in dire straits as their expectations of a good price for their produce have been belied.

They say the price quoted by traders during auctions conducted at regulated markets last year encouraged many of them to take up cotton cultivation in February this year. Consequently, the total area under the crop has almost doubled in delta districts.

However, as they started plucking cotton for sale through regulated markets, their hopes for better price were shattered when they learnt that Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) was unlikely to take part in the auctions.

But persistent pleas from cultivators through district authorities appear to have helped persuade CCI to alter its decision. The corporation has procured some quantity of cotton through auctions under its procurement norms.

The rejected lots, sought at throw away prices by traders, have dashed hopes of better price realisation, farmers say.

The bids quoted by traders have declined sharply from the minimum support price of ₹5,250 (fixed for the last season), points out P.R. Pandian, president, Coordination Committee of All Farmers Associations of Tamil Nadu.

He attributes it to nexus between a few officials at regulated markets and traders, who are quoting only ₹3,000 to ₹3,500 per quintal. The governments must intervene and ensure better price for the produce to save cotton cultivators, he says.

P.S. Masilamani, Tiruvarur district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, echoes him. Cultivators are finding themselves in a piquant situation as they can neither safely stock the cotton for sale on a later date nor accept offers from traders.

The association has called upon the State government to procure cotton offering minimum support price. A demonstration will be held in front of the District Collectorate at Tiruvarur in the first week of July in support of the demand, it warns.

Meanwhile, a press release from the Thanjavur district administration says around 950 tonnes of cotton has been auctioned at regulated markets in Kumbakonam, Thirupanandhal and Papanasam since June 3. Cotton with a moisture content of 12% has been procured by CCI at the markets.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 9:06:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/cotton-cultivators-in-delta-districts-in-dire-straits/article31966136.ece

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