Over 2.46 lakh quintals of cotton, equivalent to 25 percent of crop produced in Punjab, including desi kappas, has been sold by farmers below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) during the ongoing season.
The traders say that 60 percent of the cotton produced was of poor quality, which is the reason for the price drop. Statistics reveal that 6 9.79 lakh quintals of cotton have arrived in the state mandis till January 6. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has purchased just 1.76 lakh quintals, while private traders have purchased 7.98 lakh quintals. As much as 2.46 lakh quintals of expected tapas cotton have been bought at rates below the MSP. The area under cotton this year is 1.73 lakh hectares.
Cotton growers in Sappanwali village of Abohar alleged that they were forced to sell cotton at much lower rates than the MSP. The MSP of cotton is Rs 6,620 for medium staple or narma and Rs 7,020 for long staple or desi cotton. Initially, when the cotton started arriving in the mandis, the kapas sold at a high price of Rs 8,351 and narma at Rs 8,200 per quintal, but slowly, as the crop flooded the mandis, its prices fell. The name was bought at the lowest price, Rs 3,000 per quintal, and the lowest price for desi cotton or kappas was Rs 6,500 per quintal.
Wazir Singh, a cotton grower in Abohar, lamented 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.