INCREASE IN MSP FOR COTTON

  • While cotton farmers in several States have demanded an increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of the crop, the Union government has said that it is “watching” the cotton production scenario and will decide accordingly.
  • A senior official of the Union Textile Ministry told The Hindu that the domestic prices of cotton right now were higher than its MSP.
  • “MSP operations will kick in if prices fall. At this point, it is not necessary. We are fully ready to come into MSP,” the official said, adding that the Cotton Corporation of India will start procurement if the market is unable to ensure the MSP.
  • The MSP for medium staple cotton for the 2022-23 kharif season is ₹6,080 a quintal. Though farmers said cotton got prices much higher than the MSP, it was inadequate given the rise in prices of inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilizers.

Price above MSP

  • For Praful Khandhadia, a cotton farmer from Rajkot, the fortunate absence of pink bollworm — a major menace — meant a comfortable production, though he had to contend with other problems.
  • “The income from cotton was not good in the past four years. So I have not cultivated cotton on about 60% of my land. Sowing was less, but the production was good. The harvest is going on. It will be over by mid-February,” he said.
  • Khandhadia is able to get ₹8,500 a quintal at present. “It is higher than the MSP. Last March, some farmers got even ₹15,000 a quintal, but the production was very less.
  • Given the increased input cost, the MSP should be at least ₹10,000 a quintal. We are selling the crop at ₹8,500 because of our immediate household and farm requirements,” he said.

Dwindling yield

  • Harvest of cotton is over in Punjab. In Fazilka, a major cotton belt in Punjab, farmers are getting about ₹8,200 a quintal on average.
  • “The production was just three quintals on average for an acre here. We used to get at least 15 quintals from one acre.
  • We have been demanding compensation for cotton farmers. The seed-supplying companies are the major culprits for our losses.
  • They should be held liable for supplying bad-quality seeds. Cotton is a cash crop for us.
  • Our lives are dependent on this. But the companies are looting us,” GurbhejRohiwala, BharatiyaKisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) Fazilka district president, said.
  • In Maharashtra, some farmers have got as much as ₹12,000 a quintal, AjitNawale, All India Kisan Sabha’s Maharashtra secretary, said. However, some have had a low production because of the pink bollworm attack.
  • “The prices are good because of the global situation. The import has decreased and that is the reason farmers are getting good prices. We have been demanding that cotton import should be banned at any cost. Along with this, cotton seeds import should also be stopped,” he said.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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