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Cotton farmers make rich pickings, potato growers in peril

2021-09-24 11:25:02
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Cotton farmers make rich pickings, potato growers in peril

While cotton growers in Karnataka are reaping a bounty, with the price of raw cotton soaring to a record high, the price of raw cotton, which used to be in the range of Rs 5,000-6,000 per quintal, has more than doubled to between Rs 11,500 and Rs 13,000 per quintal in different parts of the state. The minimum support price for the crop is Rs 5,500 per quintal.

After a couple of lacklustre years, this season has been a blockbuster for cotton growers with agents and traders from neighbouring states making a beeline to villages in HD Kote, Saragur, Nanjangud, Hunsur and Gundlupet taluks in the Old Mysuru region where farmers are commanding the prices.

Most of the buyers are from Tamil Nadu as a majority of textile industries are situated in Tirupur and Erode where raw cotton is processed and the yarn exported to Bangladesh. Cotton trader Cheluvaraju said they have orders from dealers in Tamil Nadu and other states too. Villages in HD Kote region witness early monsoon and hence, sowing and harvest start early. Usually, about 47,000 hectares comes under cotton cultivation in the region, but it had dropped to about 30,000 hectares this season.

According to progressive farmer Kariyappa, the scanty rains and the truant monsoon in early April and May has had an impact on sowing activity, which has also contributed to the high demand for cotton.

Many farmers opt for BT cotton

Kariyappa said that many farmers shifted to maize this time as the cost of cultivation is also less. Concurring with him, Ashoka, a farmer from Hanchipura, pointed out that those who stuck with cotton cultivation are getting bumper yields and good returns.

Most of them have bid goodbye to traditional cotton varieties and opted for the hybrid BT cotton as it is disease-resistant and yields sooner. Traders in some parts like Chitradurga are buying raw cotton at Rs 13,000 per quintal, but middlemen are taking farmers for a ride in Saragur taluk, he rued.

Referring to the shortage of farm labour, he said cotton growers are struggling to complete harvesting early as they fear that the prices may drop once cotton from Telangana and Maharashtra arrives in the market.

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