Plight of cotton farmers in Rayagada district of Odisha

Rayagada: Here is the plight of cotton farmers in the Rayagada district of Odisha. A large number of farmers are dependent on cotton farming in this district. However, these days after not getting a fair price for their produce, the farmers are bound to go for distressed sale that has incurred heavy loss and thus they are disheartened.

As per the farmers in Rayagada district, the unseasonal rain and the increase in the prices of fertilizers and pesticides used in cotton cultivation has brought big trouble. This has shaken the spine of the farmer.

As per reports, in the last years they were reaping good income by selling their produce to the Central Government’s Cotton Corporation of India. However, this year the said Corporation is not buying cotton from farmers due to fall in the quality of cotton produce. And hence, the farmers of this district are caught in the clutches of brokers from Andhra Pradesh.

The cotton cultivation of Rayagada district has earned name and fame even in abroad. Two decades back the farmers from Andhra Pradesh took in lease many lands of tribal people in Rayagada district and started cotton cultivation.

The farmers of Rayagada district gradually abandoned other crops and concentrated on cotton cultivation due to higher profits. The Central Government’s Cotton Corporation of India used to buy cotton from farmers. But due to the fall in cotton quality this year, the Cotton Corporation of India has been accused of ignoring the farmers.

Rain has hit farmers in Rayagada district. Before the cotton harvest, the rainwater fell and destroyed a lot of cotton. The cotton crop was destroyed due to unseasonal rain. This has also affected the production of cotton per acre leading to fall in cotton production in the entire district.

The total agricultural land in Rayagada district is 1 lakh 93 thousand 504 hectares. Out of that, only 55 thousand 860 hectares of farmland is being used for paddy cultivation. Reportedly, only 25 percent of the total land in the district is irrigated in the Kharif season and 9 percent in the Rabi season.

This year 32 thousand 186 hectares of agricultural land in Rayagada district has been used in cotton cultivation. It is targeted to produce 5.14 lakh quintals of cotton. However, this year farmers are likely to suffer losses due to reduced cotton production this year.

Cotton farming is a costly affair. Farmers spend more than Rs 20,000 per acre while 5 to 7 quintals of cotton are produced per acre. The support price in the market has been fixed at Rs 6,200 per quintal.  However, this year farmers were forced to borrow from the market to buy fertilizers and pesticides due to the increase in price. Accordingly, it is strongly speculated that this year it will be next to impossible for the farmers to compensate.

Many farmers are not aware of the agricultural insurance schemes and thus are suffering from not getting the insurance benefits.

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