Punjab: Over 25% of Cotton Sold Below Minimum Support Price
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More than 25% of cotton, including desi kapas, has been sold by farmers below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) during the current cotton season in Punjab.
According to a report by The Tribune, as of January 6, a total of 9.79 lakh quintals of cotton had arrived in state mandis. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has purchased 1.76 lakh quintals, while private traders acquired 7.98 lakh quintals.
Khairat Lal, a cotton grower in Sappanwali village of Abohar told The Tribune he was forced to sell his cotton at much lower rates than the MSP.
“I could manage to sell the narma for Rs 6,500 per quintal. Last year, I had sown cotton on five acres, but because of low returns, this year, I cultivated cotton on just one acre, bringing most of my land holding under kinnow and other horticulture crops. However, this year, even kinnow has not been able to give good returns,” he was quoted as saying.
The daily added that 2.46 lakh quintals of cotton, encompassing both narma and kapas, has been procured at rates below the MSP. The total cotton cultivation area for this season stands at 1.73 lakh hectares. The MSP for cotton is set at Rs 6,620 for medium staple (narma) and Rs 7,020 for long staple (desi cotton). Despite the initial high prices of Rs 8,351 per quintal for kapas and Rs 8,200 per quintal for narma, the market dynamics have taken a toll. As the cotton supply inundated the mandis, prices plummeted significantly. The lowest price observed was Rs 3,000 per quintal for narma, and for desi cotton or kapas, it reached a minimum of Rs 6,500 per quintal.
Wazir Singh, another cotton grower in Abohar, was quoted as saying that the high-velocity winds just before harvesting had damaged the crop as had the pink bollworm attack. “Last year, I got a good price of Rs 7,500 per quintal, but this year, I could get just Rs 6,500 per quintal,” he said.
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