Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

Kalahandi: Cotton farmers in Kalahandi district are now a worried lot and staring at an uncertain future owing to absence of mandis. As a result, several farmers are forced to sell their harvest at low prices.

According to reports, the farmers here used to produce 10 to13 quintals of cotton annually. But due to adverse weather conditions and pest attack, the production has dropped to 6 to 7 quintals this year.

Sources said, although the cotton production has been good this season, lack of mandis to sell the produce has left the farmers in distress. As a result the farmers are forced to sell the cotton in low cost to local traders.

“The cotton crops were damaged this season due to adverse weather conditions and subsequent pest attack. We are forced to sale the produced cotton at cheaper rates due to unavailability of mandis," rued a farmer.

A meeting was held by the Junagarh RMC to discuss the steps to be taken for procurement and sale of cotton.

“The collector had directed to set up mandis to procure cotton in an interval of every 15 days. But we have now proposed to organise such mandis every seven days so that the farmers can sell the cotton on time and get the benefit,” Sercretary of Junagad RMC, Basant Kumar Sethi said.

The sub-collector informed that cotton production has been good this year and steps are being taken for the procurement. However, he refuted the allegations pest attack.

“Cotton production has been good in Golamunda and Junagarh block this year and several meetings under the chairmanship of the collector for procurement of the crops,” said Dharmagarh Sub collector, Padmanav Behera.