‘Indigenous cotton farming to be promoted in Mah.state’
With the advent of genetically-modified Bt cotton in Indian market, indigenous cotton seeds have taken a back seat as farmers have been lured by much hyped assurance of high yield. Ultimately, they have got trapped in huge debts arising out of high input costs as compared to output costs, said Shri Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission chairman and farm activist Kishore Tiwari.
"A close look at the market strategy followed by the cultivation cost will prove that Bt cotton is a total failure in rain-fed regions like Vidarbha," Tiwari said, adding that it is high time to promote indigenous seeds of all crops, including cotton.
"It is our experience that only indigenous seeds can suit rain-fed farms and only they can ensure sustainable farming in the region," Tiwari said.
The Nagpur-based Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) has been trying to achieve high density cotton cultivation in the region, he added.
"To meet this goal, we have started a novel programme of distributing indigenous seeds of cotton, tur and moong to 133 farmers in Aawalgaon village of Yavatmal district recently. The aim is to encourage farmers to produce their own seeds out of the distributed 4 quintals of seeds free of cost," Tiwari said, adding that the Aawalgaon pattern would be introduced in the entire state in a phased manner.
"There shall be a seed bank in each village so that the needy farmers would be given the seeds from it," he added. Aawalgaon is situated over 80km from Yavatmal and it is a tribal dominated village in Maregaon tehsil. Close to 80% of the villagers belong to Kolam community. "To save Kolam tribals, we have set up a seed bank and free seeds are being distributed to them for the ongoing kharif sowing," Tiwari added.
"Our special attention is that farmers should be encouraged to produce their own seeds and they should cultivate the seeds with less production cost so that the earning would be more," Tiwari further said, adding that the state-owned seed company Mahabeej would buy seeds from the farmers and market them in the state at a reasonable price.