Though the Government has fixed the minimum support prices ( MSP) at Rs 3900 per quintal but prices in local market are far below expectations.
As compared to last year, the demand in the international market particularly China and Pakistan is virtually nil due to good crop there. This has resulted in less prices compared to last year when it rose to the higher side. The Maharashtra State Cotton Marketing Federation which is bound to protect interest of farmers have so far not intervened in the price issue.
Moreover, this year the produce or the yield of cotton per acre has shrinked to about two quintal which is worrying farmers. This is the third year when they are facing the problem. Though the Cotton Federation had announced they will open the procurement centres well before Diwali but they are still not in sight, sources close to cotton growers group said. Huge losses are in store for cotton growers of the state this year too, said officials in Cotton Growers Co-operative Marketing Federation.
Farm activists too said crop losses would be anywhere between 25-50 per cent. What is more perturbing is that despite poor crop, not only in the state but also in Gujarat this year, rates in open markets have remained stable around Rs 4,000 a quintal, they said.
“Cotton is always an unpredictable commodity. There are so many factors, from weather conditions, crop situation in other countries, international markets to the fickle nature of demand from industry. All these go into deciding the open market rates,” explained a close aide of NP Hirani, Chairman of Cotton Federation. He said the Federation has till date opened 92 procurement centres but managed to procure merely 788 quintal at the government price of around Rs 3,900. “With market rates ruling around Rs 4,050, farmers prefer to sell to private traders to earn more,” said Hirani. For the first time this season he admitted that crop loss this year could be to the tune of 25 percent.