Subject: Despite price scare, farmers prefer cotton-TIMES OF INDIA
Despite price scare, farmers prefer cottonRamu Bhagwat, TNN | Apr 22, 2011,
VJAS believes that cotton prices plummeted after Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar announced that the country had a record crop of around 375 lakh bales. "If that figure is correct, why is the government not allowing exports as the domestic consumption is not more than 225 lakh bales
NAGPUR: The sudden collapse of cotton prices from an unprecedented high of Rs 7000 a quintal to around Rs 4200 within a few weeks is being seen more as a rigging by the powerful textile lobby. Undeterred, instead of shifting to other crops in the coming kharif season, farmers are likely to increase the area under cotton cultivation by about 20% from the 110 lakh hectares of last season.
It was after some decades that cotton farmers of India got a better deal in the last kharif season. Especially so in cotton belt of Vidarbha that has been in news for a decade for unending farmer suicides on account of economic distress and recurring losses. A fairly good crop and double the normal price made more difference to their lives all the relief packages doled out by the government so far.
"There are clear indications that area under cotton will increase by more than 20%. This is more so because other crops like soyabean, wheat and even tur are not that remunerative. Soya, wheat and paddy prices have been stagnant. Tur despite good demand failed to command even the support price of Rs 3000 a quintal fixed by the government," said farmers` leader Vijay Jawandhiya. He believes the fall in cotton prices in last few weeks is driven by speculation over extending ban on cotton exports.
Looking at the unusual demand, seed companies selling Bt seeds are raising prices by Rs 200 for a packet of 450 gms. "Reports from Punjab and Haryana of shortage of seeds show higher demand and possibility of farmers turning to cotton from other crops," said Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. He said there was every chance of Maharashtra seeing a huge jump from around 40 lakh hectares to 50 lakh in the kharif season beginning next June. "The state could have nearly half of cotton crop area of entire country," said Tiwari. Not only in Vidarbha but farmers in some pockets of western and north Maharashtra and areas of Marathwada may also turn to cotton this time, he said.
Tiwari believes that cotton prices plummeted after Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar announced that the country had a record crop of around 375 lakh bales. "If that figure is correct, why is the government not allowing exports as the domestic consumption is not more than 225 lakh bales," Tiwari asked. Jawandhiya also demanded that cotton exports should be allowed as international prices continue to rule high.