by Smita Bhagnar, SEWA
On behalf of the small and marginal farmers, we are actively working for the cotton farmers as well as on the issue of sharing water for Narmada canal.
Gujarat and Maharashtra share about 80% of total cotton production in India. This year, these farmers are facing serious issue of getting proper selling price of cotton. Some important observation and impact are as under:
As per the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), this year, area of cotton production has been increased by 7.7% as compared to the last year. Hence, there is abundant cotton production in this year which is also one of the reasons to not avail of proper selling price of cotton.
Last year, the farmers were able to get Rs.1100 per 20 Kg of cotton. While this year they are getting Rs.750 per 20kg.of cotton. Though due to the intervention of Ministry of Agriculture – GOI, The CCI has declared MSP of Rs.4040/100kg. for long staple cotton and Rs. 3750/100 kg for Medium Staple cotton and 47 collection centers have been opened on priority basis.
In Gujarat, most of farmers are growing medium staple cotton. But the Minimum Support Price they get is not able to meet their production cost. Most of the farmers are taking loan for agriculture. For that they have to pay interest. They lack storage facility and their crop holding capacity is very low.
Farmers have protested against government for getting fair Minimum support price including other demands. As a result, government has declared to waive 50% on their crop loan interest and electricity bill.
We fully sympathise with the issues faced by the farmers. On one hand we talk about industrial growth, and on the other hand, we are not able to solve the issues of small farmers. The growth and development has to be equitable and just.
SEWA has submitted a memorandum how the farmers can be protected from situation like the current one where cotton farmers are not able to get proper prices for their produce.
The agitating farmer organisations have taken support of opposition party. SEWA does not get affiliated with any political party, hence we would not like to get the agitation associated under MTCP II.