Cotton farmers in Odisha distressed over inoperative mandis

Sonepur: Cotton, which is popularly referred to as white gold among farmers is a widely-cultivated crop in Sonepur district. While farmers of the district cultivated cotton on a large scale expecting good returns, the non-functional mandi in the district has left them in distress.

According to sources, while a cotton mandi at Badkhamar of the district has been set up, it is yet to be functional. While, almost all the farmers in the area are involved in cotton farming, lack of mandi in the area is forcing them to consider distress sale. This year, cotton has been cultivated in around 4,000 hectares of land in Birmaharajpur, Ulunda and Tarabha blocks of the district.

“The millers are pricing cotton at Rs 4,600 or Rs 4,700 per quintal. We are forced to sell the cotton at lower prices as the mandi is not functional,” said Tarani Mirda, a cotton farmer.

Another farmer said “The mandi is not functional and remains closed. There is no support from the government and we are forced to sell our produce at prices lower than the govt-stipulated Rs 5,400 per quintal.”

On the other hand, Deputy Director of Agriculture in Sonepur distirct, Santosh Kumar Jena said “Arrangements have been made for sale of cotton at the mandi. Some bring it to the mandi while others sell it at the village itself. There are no problems as of now.”