BERHAMPUR: Cotton crop grown over 858 hectare (ha) in Ganjam district would be ready for harvest by the end of this month. But farmers are a worried lot due to lack of marketing and processing facilities in the district.In the absence of marketing facilities and support from the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), they are left at the mercy of middlemen and a ginning mill owner at Kesinga in Kalahandi district.
Though Ganjam contributes 25 per cent of total cotton production of the State, about 1,200 farmers are worried about marketing of this ‘white gold’. “While only one mandi has been set up for its procurement at Digapahandi for entire Ganjam district, we are compelled to spend more on transportation and depend on middlemen,” said farmers.
Similarly, the ginning mill at Aska, which separates cotton fibre from the seed bolls and dust particles, is lying defunct for the last five years. As a result, the farmers are depending on the facility available at Kesinga, said Sanjay Kumar Jena of Sunanthara village under Seragada block, who is involved in cotton cultivation for the last 17 years.
He said the cash crop is very lucrative as each hectare gives a yield of eight quintals of cotton. For this, more farmers are now interested to cultivate cotton in Ganjam. “This year, we are expecting a good harvest which will continue till March. If the State Government supports us for processing and marketing, we can produce more cotton,” said Sanjay, who cultivates cotton on five-acre of land.
He said the profit margin from cotton cultivation is about 18 per cent more than the traditional crops. “Though the Government has fixed cotton price at `4,700 per quintal, we are being forced to sell it at a rate of `4,200 per quintal to businessmen from outside,” Sanjay said.
District Subject Matter Specialist (Cotton) Prasanna Kumar Swain said cotton is grown primarily in six blocks, Sanakhemundi, Seragada, Digapahandi, Patrapur, Sorada and Dharakote. Last year, cotton was cultivated over 756 ha in the district. With weather being favourable, cotton cultivation has been increased to 858 ha this season, he added.
The Agriculture department is providing technical support to farmers for growing the cash crop, he added.
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