Double blow to cotton farmers: Less yield, low prices

  • Ketan Gupta, Hindustan Times, Bathinda
  • Updated: Oct 25, 2014 22:17 IST

This season is not going to be good for cotton farmers of the district as they are getting very less price for the crop.The maximum cotton price last year was Rs 5,400 per quintal at a few cotton markets of Bathinda, while not a single bale has been auctioned for above `4,115 this time.

The trends seem not so encouraging this year as the lowest cotton price failed to make it up to even its minimum selling price (MSP).

The MSP for cotton is between Rs3,700 to Rs 3,900. However, this season, the minimum auction touched up to `3,140 and the average selling price is Rs 3,800 to Rs 4,000.
Even with less arrival of cotton in the grain markets of the district than that last year till date, prices are shockingly down. This year, a total of 1.72 lakh tonnes of cotton has arrived while last year it was 1.98 lakh tonnes.

In 2011, for the first time in history, cotton prices breached the Rs 5,000 per quintal barrier and prices had touched a high of Rs 8,000 the same year.

"The prices of cotton are flexible; however its MSP is Rs 3,700 to 3,900 per quintal, but this time the price has shockingly come down and its highest price also is not much attractive as it is half of what it used to be earlier," said Jagroop Singh, senior assistant, district mandi officer.

"The production of cotton at the national level has increased substantially and the rates have decreased and this situation has affected the Punjab cotton market as well. Even the number of buyers of cotton has come down," said Ashok Kapoor, a trader, and former president of the Cotton Association of India.
"Going by the trend, dependence will be on exporters, their behaviour towards the market will decide the price and it seems likely that prices will rise once again," added Kapoor.

"Untimely rains had also affected the yield of the crop. Earlier, any fall in the production used to lead to the rise in the demand and prices. However, this season, farmers have suffered a double blow as prices have also gone down along with the yield," said Harbhajan Singh, a farmer.

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