Cotton purchase starts in Odisha's Kalahandi but farmers resort to distress sale

The farmers of Rangsapali and Padampur complained that they are forced to sell their cotton to private traders at lower prices due to inadequate market support.
Farmers plucking cotton from an agriculture field at a village in Kalahandi | Express
Farmers plucking cotton from an agriculture field at a village in Kalahandi | Express

BHAWANIPATNA: Though cotton procurement has begun in full swing in Kalahandi district, lack of adequate market support is reportedly forcing the farmers to resort to distress sale. Sources said cotton cultivation in the district has been undertaken over 71,880 hectare. Major cotton producing areas are in Bhawanipatna block (25,400 ha) followed by Kesinga (17,000 ha) and Golamunda (15,530 ha). Other areas which produce cotton include Narla, Karlamunda, Dharamgarh, Lanjigarh and M Rampur.

The Cotton Corporation of India began cotton procurement in the district from Friday at Karlapada. However, only eight farmers reportedly turned up to sell their produce at the mandi where around 125 quintal was procured on the first day with the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 7,020. The farmers of Rangsapali and Padampur complained that they are forced to sell their cotton to private traders at lower prices due to inadequate market support.

Manchu Dalpati of Padampur and Rameswar Dharua of Rengsapali said that the nearest mandi at Utchala has not been opened yet. “So we are forced to sell our produce to private traders at Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000 per quintal. The MSP set by Government of India is a distant dream for us,” they added. A similar complaint was made by farmers of Bhawanipatna and Kesinga blocks.

Secretary of Bhawanipatna RMC Rabi Shankar Bhitria said there will be maximum involvement of the Cotton Corporation of India in the mandis this year. “Most of Kalahandi cotton is transported to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra but due to dull exports this year, the market is down. However, the situation is expected to improve in the coming days,” he added.

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