Rice, cotton ryots script success story

BUMPER HARVEST: Cotton-picking in progress at Vattimala village of Karimnagar district. Photo: P.V. Sivakumar  

N. Rahul

Achieve best-ever harvest; other crops like maize, pulses, oil seeds do poorly

HYDERABAD: Notwithstanding four spells of floods, the State is poised for the highest-ever production of rice and cotton this season.

With the harvesting of paddy at its peak now, the Government has estimated that rice crop will touch 77.93 lakh tonnes against 63.77 lakh tonnes during the kharif season last year. Productivity has also gone up to 3,090 kg a hectare against 2,524 kg a hectare last year.

Cotton has also brought cheer to farmers, as the production is expected to be an all-time high of 23.87 lakh bales (each of 170 kg lint) against 21.08 lakh bales last year. Most other crops, particularly maize, pulses and oil seeds, did not do well for various reasons, including drought.

Doubly rewarding

The season was doubly rewarding for paddy cultivators as they not only reaped a good harvest but also earned high prices for good quality rice. Though the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Grade A variety of paddy such as Sona Masuri was Rs. 650 a quintal, they received up to Rs. 750 a quintal. Similarly, farmers sold common varieties of paddy to private traders at Rs. 655 a quintal against the MSP of Rs. 620.

Procurement agencies such as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and State Civil Supplies Corporation could not withstand the competition. The FCI procured only 11,824 tonnes and the corporation 19,223 tonnes, sources in marketing department said.

The MSP was mostly paid for cotton except at a few places like Peddapalli in Karimnagar where the superior varieties like Bunny and Brahma cost a little higher.

Agriculture Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah attributed the success story of rice and cotton to reservoirs being full, availability of good quality seed and extension work by the department.

She said except the failure of one variety of blackgram seed in Kurnool, there were no complaints against dealers.

She also said rice production would have touched 85 to 90 lakh tonnes and cotton 29 lakh bales but for the floods. The last flood caused severe damage to crop in Krishna and Guntur districts.

There was no major pest and disease attack on any of the crops.