Vidarbha farmers shiftiing from cotton to Soya and pulses-TIMES OF INDIA
NAGPUR: Rain gods showing mercy this time with timely arrival of monsoon has helped farmers to kick start the kharif operations. But cotton, which for many years has been the main cash crop of Vidarbha, may yield place to soyabean this time. Poor sales and demand for cotton seed in western Vidarbha's Amravati division indicates that farmers could shift from cotton to pulses like tur, chana and even linseed besides soyabean.
"The shift from cotton could be more than the 10% that we anticipated initially," said state cotton growers' cooperative marketing federation chairman NP Hirani. "One of the reasons could be the failure of the government to announce the minimum support price (MSP). This has fuelled fears that it may not fetch much more than Rs 3,900 a quintal it got last year. If a farmer knows before hand the price, it helps him decide which crop to go for. Cotton growing has become costly and returns are poor," said Hirani.
Confirming less interest being shown in cotton, Amravati division joint director of agriculture Ashok Lokhande said that soyabean looks to be a preferred crop this year. "The picture will be clear in next three-four days. Farmers initially just make rounds to dealers to look around and do not buy anything. They take couple of days before deciding and then finalize on the crop," said Lokhande.
Anil Bhoyar, a farmer with 13 acres holding at Khapri village in Ghatanji taluka of Yavatmal district is among those who have made up their mind. "Last year I had cotton on nine acres. And soyabean, til (linseed), chana, tur on the rest. I earned less from cotton and more on rest of crops. So this time I have sowed soya on nine acres. Will sow cotton on three acres and til on the restalong with tur, gram as inter crop," he said. Soyabean with price of Rs 3,200 a quintal earns more than cotton, he said. While linseed fetches even more with a yield of around four quintals an acre, he added.
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari and his team are also advising farmers to go in for food crops and pulses to augment income. "I have noticed that demand for cotton seeds is far less. Some input dealers and companies have started offering discounts. The ad blitz to attract farmers back to cotton is phenomenal this year with commercial space in regional TV and print media getting hogged by seed manufacturers," said Tiwari.