Jeevan Kumar

A farmer picking raw cotton  Photo credit : wikimedia

A farmer picking raw cotton
Courtesy :Wikimedia

Cotton farmers of Andhra Pradesh are shocked to see the prices of cotton going up after they have sold almost more than half of their crop.

“I have sold almost 80 per cent of my crop to private traders for 4,200 rupees per quintal. Now the price is almost 5,000 rupees per quintal. People are saying it will go up to 6,000 after few days. Now private traders get huge profits but we remain in loss, ” says Suresh, a young cotton former from Adilabad district.

Prices of cotton started rising drastically since the last week of December, 2013 when the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) opened purchases of cotton. The CCI has delayed purchasing for about  two months.  Meanwhile private traders in Telangana districts have already bought most of the crop from farmers at very cheap rates since November.

“The traders are taking advantage of CCI’s delay and making huge profits. We have worked very hard throughout the year only to see that someone else is easily making money out of our crops while we are not even able to pay the crop loans” said Dileep, another cotton farmer.

The investment of small scale cotton farmers usually comes from government banks and private money lenders. These loans are sufficient only for buying the seeds and fertilizers. The labour is paid only after the crops are harvested. With this burden of paying off loans, cost and wages,  farmers tend to sell the crop as soon as they get it. Only some of the farmers who have stored their crop, make profit.

There is still a considerable amount of cotton to be harvested and no proper mechanism to control the private traders. Considering losses of the previous year,  many farmers are considering shifting from cotton to other crops. Some of the cotton farmers from Adilabad district have already started planting alternative crops such as soya beans. Sadly,  no officials of CCI, Adilabad were available to comment on this issue.