Gujarat announces bonus for cotton growers

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The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced Rs. 110 per 20 kg bonus for the cotton growers in the State. As per the announcement, cotton farmers will get additional Rs. 110 per 20 kg on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs. 810 per 20 kg when sold to government procurement agency, Cotton Corporation of India at its depots.

Farmers selling cotton at the CCI depots will be entitled to get this bonus, which puts the price at Rs. 920 per 20 kg orRs. 4,600 per quintal of raw cotton.

Farmers in Gujarat faced heavy losses as market price of cotton fell sharply due to China cutting down on its purchases from India.

After frequent representations by farmer bodies like Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and farmer leaders, the state government formed a committee of ministers under the leadership of chief minister Anandiben Patel. The committee included senior ministers Nitin Patel, state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, state finance minister Saurabh Patel and state agriculture minister Babubhai Bokhiriya.

“It is expected that cotton growing area in the state is likely to be around 2.76 million hectares this year with an estimated cotton output of around 8.5 to 9 million bales (each of 170 kg). In view of this and also for providing good market price for cotton growers, the state government has decided to give Rs. 110 bonus to the farmers from the State budget,” said the spokesperson minister Nitin Patel.

The benefit will be applicable from December 18, 2015 for all procurement made under CCI. “With this bonus, the prices would be maintained its desired levels in the state and will benefit the cotton growing farmers in the state,” the minister said here.

However, the opposition Congress termed the bonus to be insignificant and mockery of the troubled cotton farmers of the state.

“Instead of giving additional subsidy of Rs. 400 to the MSP of Rs. 810 and give the total cotton price of Rs. 1,200 per 20 kg, the government has done a mockery of farmers by announcing merely Rs. 100 bonus,” said Raghavji Patel, Congress MLA from Jamnagar rural assembly constituency.

Even the farmer body Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) termed the bonus insufficient considering the losses incurred by farmers amid escalating costs and lower realisation from the crop.

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