Manamunda: In the absence of procurement centres, cotton farmers in Kantamal area of tribal-dominated Boudh district have resorted to distress sale of their produce, a report said.
As per a 2019 government record, farmers of Kantamal block have cultivated cotton in about 575 hectares. The block has achieved the record of growing highest coverage of cotton in the district.
Besides Kantamal, cotton is also cultivated in areas like Manamunda, Gheekundi, Gudvhelipadar, Bilaspur and Khatakhatia. Cotton farmers have got a good harvest due to sufficient rainfall in the district.
However, farmers depend on the mandi at Birmaharajpur of Subarnapur district as there is no mandi system available in the district.
Without marketing facilities for their produce, farmers have no way but to sell their produce to middlemen and Andhra traders at throwaway prices. Andhra traders are taking full advantage of the situation and are camping here to lift cotton at lower rates.
While the Centre has raised the minimum support price (MSP) of cotton from Rs 5255 to Rs 5555 per quintal, farmers sell it at Rs 4000 per quintal to middlemen, incurring a loss of over Rs1500.
A report said cotton is cultivated in 375 hectares in Boudha block and 155 hectares in Harabhanga block. Unofficial sources said the cash crop is cultivated in about 900 hectares in Kantamal block.
“Left with no option, we sell cotton to traders of other states at prices much below the MSP,” some farmers of Kantamal block said.
Last year, after incurring losses in cotton cultivation, farmers expected to salvage something in cotton. However, the administrative indifference has dashed all their hopes, the farmers claimed.
According to reports, cotton is considered an alternative cash crop in the district for the last two decades. Farmers of Manamunda block have been demanding a cotton procurement centre in their area for years, but the district administration has not heeded to their problems.
Several farmers of Kantamal block such as Kantheswar Pradhan, Barun Barik and Dhruv Pradhan said, if the government does not make permanent arrangements of procurement centres for cotton, they will give up cotton farming from next year.