Cotton farmers in Nuapada staring at distress sale

Nuapada: Its harvest time, but cotton farmers of Nuapada are a distressed lot as they are staring at the prospect of selling their produce at lower rates due to unavailability of mandis in the area.

According to sources, the harvest season of cotton coincides with that of the paddy procurement and the farmers are facing a lot of hassles in storing their produce. Moreover, the mandis present in the district are yet to open this season leaving farmers with no option other than distress sale.

After bearing the brunt of cyclone Titli earlier this season, farmers who have been waiting anxiously to earn some profit from cotton farming are staring at uncertainty.

“We had good crop this year, but after spells of rain, the government hiked the cotton prices. As mandis are closed we are forced to go for distress sale,” cotton farmer, Ashok Kumar Pradhan said.

Official sources said cotton was cultivated in around 9,723 hectare land this year, but due to delay in opening of mandis, farmers are willing to sell the produce at Rs 4000 per quintal instead of the government-fixed rate of Rs 5,450 per quintal.

On the other hand, the district agricultural authorities have assured that the harvested crop will be bought from the farmers once the mandis are opened by December 10.

“After holding a meeting on procurement we had tried to open the mandis by November end, but we could not. We will try to begin the process by December 10,” Deputy Director of Agriculture, Jehad Mohammad said.