Cotton farmers’ woes: Transparency missing in cotton purchase

Warangal: The cotton farmers who brought their yield to the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) unit at Warangal’s Enumamula Market Yard, one of the biggest in Telangana, had woes to tell. Speaking to NewsMeter, remaining anonymous, they said that the Cotton Corporation of India officials harassed them. The farmers alleged that the officials colluded with traders owning private ginning mills, mostly from neighbouring Gorrekunta and other areas in the district. The officials are thereby fixing purchase price much less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

The major complaint of the cotton farmers is the moisture percentage in their yield being hiked at the behest of the agents of the private traders. If the moisture is more, the farmers tend to get less than MSP. The farmer claimed that the rate they were getting was less than Rs 4,000 per quintal.

Even though there is a moisture meter — a device that measures the moisture content in cotton — the farmers were not educated on how their product is being graded. Caught completely unaware of this tool and the measurement process, they said that the officials write the technical details. The latter thus claim that the moisture content is more despite low moisture recorded in the produce. As a result, the harvest is fixed at a low price resulting in a massive loss against their escalating investment.

A close observation shows that the traders’ agents decide the cotton price per quintal in consultation with CCI officials, who grades the cotton’s quality, including its moisture content.

The farmers claim that the traders buy their produce at low rates in this game of buying and selling, at a profit of Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per quintal. The beneficiaries are the CCI officials and agents of these private ginning mills, the farmers allege.

The cotton yield, which arrived at the CCI unit at the Enumamula Market Yard, was estimated at 170,000 quintals in December. The bulk of the cotton that came in November was estimated to be 237,000 quintals. However, the cotton yield, which started in October, was said to be around 67,000 quintals in Warangal.

The cotton farmers plead with the marketing administration to do them justice by providing the minimum support price. They have also suggested eliminating agents of the private ginning mills and posting honest CCI officials at CCI units and market yards.

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