Bolangir: Cotton, popularly referred to as white gold is a widely-cultivated in Bolangir district after paddy. However, several farmers are now forced to go for distress sale of their produce allegedly due to lack of adequate mandi facilities.
Cotton growers in the district are a worried lot due to the non-availability of mandis for the procurement of produce in the district. The ones which are open are allegedly not co-operating with the farmers.
As per norms, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) should procure cotton crops from the mandis. However, it is alleged that the farmers are being harassed at the mandis for which they are compelled to sell their produce to millers below minim support price (MSP).
The MSP for cotton per quintal for this season has been fixed at Rs 5,550. However, the millers are procuring cotton at Rs 4,000 per quintal through middlemen.
A cotton farmer, Tankadhar Bhoi said, "The millers are offering price ranging between Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000. However, if the concerned authorities open one each mandi for three to four panchayats, then we can sell our produce as per the MSP fixed by the government."
"Cotton is extensively cultivated here but it is not giving us profit as the farmers are being cheated by the middlemen," another cotton farmer, Indramandi Saraf.
Meanwhile, the senior officials of the district could not be contacted over such allegations of the farmers.