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Cotton farmers in distress


Updated: November 7, 2011, 12:03 PM IST
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Cotton farmers in distress
ADILABAD: The hardy cotton farmers in the backward district of Adilabad are living through harsh climatic conditions. Rainfall def..

ADILABAD: The hardy cotton farmers in the backward district of Adilabad are living through harsh climatic conditions. Rainfall deficit in the last two months has caused them immense economic distress, and several farmers have reportedly committed suicide.

The first time they had sown their seeds, they failed to germinate and the second time, they germinated but dried up due to lack of rains and drought conditions. While the district had to receive rainfall of 1100 mm, it received only 864 mm in September.

This has led to withering of crops resulting in huge losses to farmers. This quagmire has pushed about 20 cotton farmers in the district to end their lives in the last two months.

The that led to the spate of suicides includes crop failure, unseasonal rains, inability of the farmers to cope with the changes in environment, poor monsoon and debt.

They have cultivated a variety of crops in about 5.75 lakh hectares of land. Of the total land used for cultivation, cotton is being cultivated in 25,000 hectares this year as compared to 3.61 lakh hectares last year. Cotton farmers say that the international markets last year had better price for cotton, apart from higher yield unlike this year where the prices are falling and the yield is decreasing.

For one acre of cotton cultivation, a farmer invests Rs 12000 to 15000 and gets a yield of eight to 10 quintals. But this year, the scanty rainfall has brought down the yield to about five to six quintals per acre.

According to a Bandi Pochanna, a farmer from Kaparla village in Tamsi mandal, he has rented five acres of land to cultivate cotton and invested Rs 85,000 for seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and labour. He thinks that the dry spell prevalent will not bring him the expected output. "The government has to declare our mandal as a droughthit one and come to our rescue," he opined.

This apart, Pochanna is worried about his debts and demands the government to pay compensation for the loss they are facing. "If the government doesn't show us a way out, the only choice we have is suicide," he laments.

To worsen the situation, power crisis leaves farmers frustrated because they cannot irrgate their fields.

The produce also doesn't bring us proper remunerative price, says K Lachanna, a farmer from Jainath mandal. "It is difficult for us to think of clearing our debts because we do not get proper returns and our crops have been damaged," he says in a tone tinged with sadness. Many farmers are even burning their crop, dejected over the withering of crops.

Meanwhile, the price of cotton this year has not gone beyond `4,200. With the danger of traders controlling the price of cotton, prices are plummeting day by day even after purchasing has begun in the market yards. However, branches of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) Branches have not begun purchasing cotton yet.

If purchasing by these branches increases, farmers can reap profits from them because much of purchasing is done by CCI compared to private traders. However, farmers opine that private traders have colluded with the CCI and hence, are hampering purchasing process.

First Published: November 7, 2011, 12:03 PM IST
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