Ryots take to suicide as cotton price falls

Ryots take to suicide as cotton price falls
Highlights

Lack of profitable price, fall in yield caused by pests and debts burden taking a toll on the lives of cotton farmers in the district. One after another cotton farmers across the erstwhile Warangal district are committing suicide, indicating gravity of the crisis in cotton farming in this season.

Warangal: Lack of profitable price, fall in yield caused by pests and debts burden taking a toll on the lives of cotton farmers in the district. One after another cotton farmers across the erstwhile Warangal district are committing suicide, indicating gravity of the crisis in cotton farming in this season.

But the State and Central governments are not responding in a proper manner to address the crisis, the farmers and leaders are alleging. Since the beginning of this harvest season, nearly 10 cotton farmers committed suicide.

The latest addition to the ever-growing list of ill-fated cotton farmers is Kothakonda Ilaiah, a 65-year-old cotton former of Vangapahad village in Hasanparthy mandal under Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation limits.The farmer, who sown the crop in two acres leased land, is said to have a debt of Rs 4 lakhs raised from different sources for the past couple of years. This year he expected a good yield.

But his hopes are shattered with the crop infested by pink boll worm, which damaged his entire field.
He consumed a pesticide ‘Phoskill’ and killed himself at his field during morning hours of Thursday. “The insecticides that failed to kill the insects are effective in killing farmers. I also used pesticides on cotton crop in my 20 guntas land but of no use.

Further the pesticides are causing irritation and allergies,” complained a farmer and agriculture labour Gandu Rama of Vangapahad speaking to The Hans India.‘I may also be compelled to follow the deceased Ilaiah,’ she grieved. “Our woes are many. Firstly, we are troubled by fake seeds, secondly by pests caused by excessive rains, thirdly by poor quality pesticides and finally after harvesting the crop we are not getting profitable price,” lamented a cotton farmer Ch Ilaiah.

“Labour cost per head is Rs 200 per day. We need to engage five labourers by spending Rs 1,000 and they pick up about 50 kgs of cotton. But at the end of the day, we are not able to recover even the labour costs as the price offered is ranging between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500 per quintal,” he added.

Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) remained reluctant and imposing many conditions in procuring cotton. Cotton must be procured at Rs 7,500 per quintal. If a farmer sells produce at a lower price, the State government must pay the remaining amount based on market receipt, demanded Rythu Sangham leader M Chander Rao.

More than one lakh quintals of cotton arrived at Enumamula market since the beginning of the season but the CCI procured not even one percent of the produce. The CCI asked the farmers to bring loose cotton but is not procuring it either. This is giving the chance to traders to exploit the farmers. The root cause of the crisis is agriculture officials’ failure in monitoring the seed processing.

Rains affected the quality of seeds last year and the same seeds are supplied to the farmers this season, alleged BJP Kisan Morcha leader M Ramchandra Reddy. Meanwhile, the Assistant Director of Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) Reeta Yadav, who visited Enumamula market on Thursday to study the situation here, told The Hans India that a report suggesting to procure cotton with moisture content above 12 percent would be submitted to the Centre.

Currently, the CCI procures cotton with moisture content between 8 to 12 per cent. A report would also be submitted recommending enhancing the minimum support price in the next season, she added.

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