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59 more cotton procurement centres set up in Telangana

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-09-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: With cotton being sowed in 1.86 million hectares of land for the first time in the history of Telangana, the Cotton Corp. of India has set up 59 additional centres (84 already existing) across the state this year. Anticipating a huge amount of produce coming in from October, the agricultural marketing department is ensuring that there is no disruption in the state-run market yards this year.

According to data from the agricultural marketing department, an estimated cotton produce of 2.81 million metric tonnes is expected to reach market yards in Telangana in 2017-18, from 1.86 million hectares of land sowed. In 2016-17, the area sowed was 1.24 million hectares, which yielded 2.47 million metric tonnes of produce.

A senior official from the department said that given the 50% increase in sowing, the state government had proposed to the Cotton Corp. of India to set up 143 centres this year, instead of the earlier 92 based on the previous year’s produce. “The centres usually run for just two or three days a week. They have been asked to be open on all working days now,” he added.

Although cotton enjoys a minimum support price (MSP), officials are still wary that excess production might cause some unrest among farmers in case they do not get the price they are expecting. Earlier in May, chilli farmers ransacked the agricultural market yard in Khammam district as excess production caused a price crash.

The violence at Khammam was a result of chilli production touching nearly 700,000 tonnes in 2016-17, compared to the 615,100 tonnes in 2015-16.

The price per quintal (100kg) of produce dipped to Rs3,000 to 5,000, in comparison to Rs10,000 to 12,000 in 2015, due to over-production.

The official informed that the MSP for cotton this year is Rs4,320 per quintal, and was Rs4,160 last year.

“Farmers have gone for cotton expecting higher returns, like in the case of chilli,” he said, and added that the government may also take a decision to depute revenue department officials at the procurement centres in view of the higher production.

That the development is being taken seriously can be gauged from the fact that the state government held a meeting, comprising some cabinet ministers as well on Wednesday to review the arrangements.

G. Lakshmi Bai, director, agricultural marketing department, said that the state government is taking every step to maintain transparency in MSP operations and also to mitigate problems if they are identified.

According to data from the department, the highest sowing of cotton was recorded in Nalgonda district where it was sown on 2,24,955 lakh hectares of land, followed by Adilabad and Khammam districts where the sown area was recorded at 1,40,119 and 1,08,974 lakh hectares.

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