With prices continuously going southward, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is proving to be the saviour for Gujarat cotton-growers. CCI has already purchased over 7.5 lakh bales (170 kg per bale) in the current season – the highest procurement by any central government agency in the state in the past 12 years.
According to an official source, CCI had purchased more than 13 lakh bales in 2008 as that year too, cotton prices had nosedived due to the global recession. “CCI is purchasing cotton from farmers at the MSP of Rs 5,500 per quintal decided by the central government,” the official said.
The price of cotton in Gujarat’s market yards is hovering around Rs 900 per 20 kg or Rs 4,500 per quintal, said Avadhesh Sejpal, president of All India Cotton, Cotton Seed and Cotton Cake Brokers Association, adding that domestic as well as international demand has plummeted by over 30% during the lockdown.
Despite the bulk purchase by CCI, farmers wouldn’t be able to get good prices for their produce in the wake of a bumper cotton crop in Gujarat, Sejpal said. In anticipation of at least Rs 1,200 per 20 kg, state farmers had increased cultivation this year, but thanks to the corona pandemic, they were left disappointed.
Though farmers started selling cotton from November 2019, nearly 35% cotton crop is still piled up with them, according to market sources.