ANANTAPUR: Cotton farmers of Anantapur, who suffered due to vagaries of nature earlier, are now suffering due to lack of procurement centres in the district. The district has two cotton procurement centres in Gooty and Tadipatri, while Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs) are limited to registering the names of the cotton growers.
Cotton is cultivated in 1.06 lakh acres in the district during Kharif 2020 and the yield has come down due to heavy rains. As against the normal 10 to 12 quintals per acre, the yield this time was seven to eight quintals only.
However, with the prices of cotton having increased in the market, the farmers are hopeful of covering their losses. As against Rs 4,900 per quintal, the cotton price in the market on an average is Rs 5,500 per quintal. The cotton procurement commenced in the state nearly one month ago.
The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), which opened two procurement centres, is paying Rs 5,825 per quintal for high quality cotton and Rs 5,725 per quintal for medium quality and Rs 5,615 for the low grade cotton to the farmers. But the farmers cannot go directly to the CCI procurement centres and sell their produce. They have to get their names registered with the RBKs and only after getting an alert on their mobile phones, they can go to the procurement centres. The farmers have to wait for their serial number and the produce will be procured depending on availability of space in the warehouse of the CCI procurement centres.
As the process takes two to three days, the farmers sell their produce to middlemen for lesser prices. Despite good cotton prices in the market, only middlemen appear to be gaining profit. In the last one month, CCI procurement centres procured 10,000 qunitals, while the total produce in the district is around 10 lakh quintals. It is learnt that there is no space in warehouses to store cotton in large quantities, a reason for slow procurement.
“Expenses for travel and transportation of cotton bales are negating our profit. We will stand to benefit if the procurement takes place in our village. What is problematic is the waiting period until space is created in the godowns. We cannot leave our produce at the market yard,” said Chandrasekhar Reddy, a farmer from Othakallu village in Gooty mandal. CCI commercial executive Sharat said the procurement commenced one month ago. “The procured cotton is being sent to the spinning mill in Adoni of Kurnool. The procurement will continue till March,” he said.