With the farmers having started bringing the first lot of cotton harvest to the mandis, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is yet to start procurement of the season formally, leaving the grain market in the hands of private traders.
The CCI has shown reluctance to start procurement process despite directions from Union textile minister for state Santosh Kumar Gangwar on October 11. Even Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had met Gangwar on October 11, appealing him to direct the CCI to start procurement of cotton crop which had come under whitefly attack.
The Punjab CM had also appealed to the textile ministry to relax the norms for cotton procurement in the wake of extensive damage to the cotton crop due to pest attack in the Malwa region, but the ministry is yet to take final call on it.
Gangwar had directed CCI chairman-cum-managing director BK Mishra to hold immediate discussions with additional chief secretary (development) and the Markfed managing director to work out modalities for the purchase of cotton without any delay.
As per information, around 2 lakh bales (140 kg per bale) have reached cotton markets in the Malwa region till date.
The whitefly attack on standing cotton crop has already caused huge damage, resulting in decline in crop yield this year.
If CCI officials are to be believed, the volatility in prices is one of the main reasons behind its reluctance to go ahead with purchase.
CCI general manager AK Srivastava said they are waiting for cotton prices to come down since the private traders are offering more price than the stipulated minimum support price (MSP).
“The farmers are presently getting up to Rs 4,500 per quintal from private traders, while the MSP for cotton is Rs 4,100. Therefore, we are waiting for the market prices to come down,” Srivastava said. He said farmers are not facing any losses even if they didn’t start procurement as private traders are already purchasing cotton brought to the markets.
Cotton production set to fall
Due to the whitefly attack, the cotton production may go down by 40 per cent this year
CCI general manager AK Shrivastava said against around 13 lakh bales production last season, they are expecting around 7.50 lakh bales this time
Medium staple: Rs 3,800 per quintal
Long staple: 4,100 per quintal