Source: The Hindu Businessline

Water shortage, pink bollworm attack have halved yield

KV KURMANATH | BHUVANAGIRI (TELANGANA),
DECEMBER 6

A few workers at the market yard-cum-ginning mill in Bhuvanagiri town, about 50 km from Hyderabad, are waiting the arrival of cotton. Two farmers bring in 15 quintals of the fiber crop in a tractor-trolley. Then begins the task of weighing the commodity on the weigh bridge, unloading the produce at the yard 100 metres away, and completing the paper-work. All this gets done in just under an hour, and the workers are left waiting for the next load to arrive.

“We used to have long queues of lorries waiting to be unloaded at the yard. As against 4,000-5,000 quintals of arrivals not so long ago, we are getting a few hundreds,” an executive said. Cotton farmers in Telangana are in a strange situation this year. The produce is getting ₹5,000 a quintal, the highest in the past few years. Earlier they used to get ₹3,000-4,000. The market yards in the region are offering ₹5,150 to ₹5,450 . 

Yet, this brings no cheer to farmers as they are not likely to recoup their investments. Initial estimates peg a 30-40 per cent loss in production. As against a target of 40.5 lakh bales, the State is expected to end the season with 26-28 lakh bales. Erratic monsoon and attack of pink bollworm hit the crop badly.

“Yields have fallen significantly. In red soil stretches, yields have fallen by up to 60 per cent, while in black soil areas, it is a 50 per cent drop,” Telangana Rythu Sangham leader S Malla Reddy told Business Line.

Against the an average yield of 8-10 quintals an acre, farmers have got 2-6 quintals depending on the availability of water and the intensity of the pink bollworm attack. Poor yields have resulted in a reduction in cotton arrivals at ginning mills. “It is estimated that there may be a drop in global production of cotton this year. This forecast has resulted in increased demand for the produce,” an official of the Marketing Department said.

This has led to the price topping the ₹5,000-mark for a quintal of cotton. “But we are not in a position to cash in on the high-price situation because of the poor yield,” said Mallanna, a 45-year-old farmer, who was at the yard to sell the produce.Malla Reddy said the cost of inputs is going up by 10-15 per cent. “But the price of the output is not increasing proportionately. Their expenditure should be factored in while deciding the price,” he said. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)