Large number of traditional cotton growers in Vidarbha region may shift to soya this Kharif season as cropping pattern was set to change after the onset of monsoons, according to agriculture experts.
The total cotton sowing area is likely to be reduced by 10 lakh hectares from 40 lakh hectares on one hand and an increase by the same numbers in soya cultivation area may take place, since soya was a cash crop and yield was satisfactory in terms of acerage, they said.
“The shift from cotton could be more than the 10 percent that was anticipated initially,” said Maharashtra State Cotton Growers’ Co-operative Narketing Federation sources.
“One of the reasons could be the failure of the government to announce the minimum support price (MSP). This has fuelled fears that it may not fetch much more than Rs 3,900 a quintal it got last year. If a farmer knows before hand the price, it helps him decide which crop to go for.
Cotton growing has become costly and returns are poor,” sources said.
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti President Kishore Tiwari said this year a good beginning in the monsoons has helped farmers to kick start kharif operations on time.
“But cotton, which for many years has been the main cash crop of Vidarbha, may give way to soyabean this year.
Poor sales and demand for cotton seed in western Vidarbha’s Amravati division indicates that farmers could shift from cotton to pulses like tur, chana and even linseed besides soyabean,” Tiwari told PTI.
Confirming a lesser interest for cotton by farmers, a senior government official from Amravati division said that soyabean looks to be the preferred crop this year.
“The picture will be clear in only later this week.
Farmers initially just make rounds to dealers to look around and do not buy anything. They take couple of days before deciding and then finalise on the crop,” he said.
Tiwari and his team are also advising farmers to go in for food crops and pulses to augment income.
“I have noticed that demand for cotton seeds is far less. Some input dealers and companies have started offering discounts,” he said.
Tiwari was however furious over non disbursement of crop loan to farmers.
About four lakh farmers have been provided with crop loan by the District Co-operative Banks in Vidarbha which was a dismal show. In Buldana district, only seven percent crop loan was disbursed till last week, he claimed.
In case of default by District Co-operative Banks, some nationalised banks have disbursed loan but that too is just 10 percent in Vidarbha of the earmarked amount.