ANANTAPUR: Cotton farmers of Anantapur district are now in a fix. They are finding it difficult to clear their stock as there is no remunerative price for cotton since the last one year. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is yet to come forward to lend a helping hand to them.
With rains lashing the area every alternate day, the farmers are worried about damage to the stock due to moisture content. In the absence of buyers here, some have begun selling cotton in Bellary of Karnataka and at a few other places in Tamil Nadu. Seizing the opportunity, middlemen have drastically decreased the prices and procured cotton, resulting in huge loss to the farmers.
“I cultivated cotton in 12 acres and harvested 200 quintals last Kharif. Now I want to sell it, but there are no buyers. I have to go either to Bellary or Tamil Nadu to sell cotton. Transportation alone will cost me over Rs 8,000 and there is no guarantee that it will be purchased. I have already spent Rs 4 lakh on cultivating cotton, and I am not sure if I can get back the investment,” Suryanarayana Reddy, a cotton farmer, said.
Padmavathi, another farmer, said she took three acres of land on lease and cultivated cotton. “I have paid Rs 30,000 as lease amount in advance and spent Rs 28,000 per acre for cultivating cotton. I have harvested 16 quintals of cotton. Under mounting pressure from moneylenders, I have sold it for Rs 4,500 per quintal. I have not got back my investment,” she lamented.
“I stocked nearly 100 quintals of cotton in my house. But all of it was drenched when my house collapsed in the recent rains. Now, I don’t know what to do. Had the government announced MSP for cotton last year, I wouldn’t have suffered losses today. I cultivated cotton in 20 acres, spending Rs 30,000 per acre. I sold some of it at a lesser price and was hoping for a better price, but now I have lost everything,” Ramanjinamma, another farmer from Peddvaduguru mandal, said.
Cotton is cultivated in 18 mandals and 80 per cent (around 35,000 acres) is cultivated in Peddvaduguru alone. Unable to sell the harvested crop for a lesser price, the farmers stocked cotton in rented facilities. Today almost every household in Peddavaduguru has stocks of cotton, ready for sale.
The CCI has set up procurement centres in Tadipatri and Gooty Market Yards. However, the cotton procured is almost nil. The officials claim that farmers are not coming forward stating that the price in the open market is more than what the CCI is offering.
Assistant Director (Marketing) M Narayana Murthy told The New Indian Express that the farmers failed to register their names with the CCI and so were left with unsold inventory. “The CCI had announced plans to open procurement centres, but due to COVID-19 crisis, it was delayed. Once the procurement centres are opened, the farmers can clear their inventory. Cotton is being procured in the open market at Adoni in Kurnool district. There are no buyers,” he said.
Why did farmers stock cotton in their houses?
- During Kharif last year, the farmers cultivated cotton in 1.26 lakh acres in 18 mandals of Anantapur district
- The harvest is anywhere between five lakh and 10 lakh quintals
- With no remunerative price last year, the farmers opted to stock cotton and wait for the right time to sell it
- Now, they have cultivated cotton again, and are worried that if the piled up stock would get cleared before the harvest of the fresh crop