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Cotton farmer's pitiable conditions continue

Feb '07
Economic condition of cotton farmers of Balangir district is yet to improve.

Last November a cotton farmer of Katapalli village under Belpada block, committed suicide due to bankruptcy. The State Agriculture Minister visited the cotton belt of Balangir after the suicide to take stock of the situation.

Cotton was grown in 20,000 hectares in the district, including Belpara block the largest area under cotton farming, official sources reported.

Cotton farmers cultivated the costly variety of cotton of 30-32-mm staple length.

Balangir Collector R. Santhagopalan informed that minimum support price (MSP) for cotton at a mandi ( cotton market ) of BANI variety is Rs 2,020 a quintal. Farmers are paid Rs 27 less if cotton length is one mm less than prescribed length, the Collector said.

Every year mandis receive nearly 25 to 30 percent cotton which has fallen to just 10 percent this year with only 1,000 quintals being received, despite Kantabanji mandi paying Rs 100 above the MSP, district administration sources informed.

Farmers opine that mandis price be at par with open market so that middlemen may not cheat them.

As cotton cultivation requires more capital there is no provision for special loan hence cotton farmers have to turn to money-lenders for seeds and pesticides, who also exploit them.

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