ANDHRA PRADESH

Shortage of labourers hits cotton farmers

S. Harpal Singh

Except modernised units, all other factories facing problems

SAEEDPUR (ADILABAD): Dire shortage of agricultural labourers has resulted in a peculiar situation that not only threatens cotton farmers in interior areas of Adilabad district but also the traders. The farmers and traders tend to lose heavy money in case the crop is not picked off the plant or is not processed on time.

If the exposed cotton is left unpicked for longer durations, it loses natural moisture thereby making it lighter in weight. Besides, there is also the danger of damage by rats or the cotton lump simply drops off to the ground only to become dirty.

Farmers from interior areas face some disadvantage as labourers are not accessible to them. There is some saving grace in that cotton crop in black soils can live on the plant for a few days more as the soil retains moisture for extended periods.

Traders and industrialists accumulate losses once the heaped up produce releases heat from its core. The heat released by the cottonseed makes the ‘kapas’ lose its quality by turning the cotton black. When processed it does not attract competent price in the national market.

Therefore the processing units need cotton labourers for activities like unloading the produce from the transport vehicles, heaping it neatly, shifting it to the ginning unit and moving the lint to the pressing unit for making bales. Except the modernised units in Adilabad, all other factories are facing problems because of dearth of labourers. Heavy arrival from fields where picking activity is in full swing is bringing the labour shortage to the fore. In addition to the local produce, cotton from other places within the district and a few places from Warangal and Karimnagar is also arriving in the market making it of the size of about 50,000 quintals per day on an average.

Farmers from interior areas face some disadvantage because those labourers who have come from Maharashtra have been employed in fields that are closer to town or near the main roads only. Cotton crop in black soils can live on the plant for a few days more as the black cotton soils retain moisture for extended periods. The crop in red soils will be affected if left unpicked.

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