The state government Thursday started cotton procurement with three centres, promising to open 17 more Friday. The Maharashtra State Cooperative Cotton-Growers Marketing Federation procured 225 quintals Thursday paying Rs 4,100 per quintal for the best grade cotton.
“For the first time, payments are being made to farmers directly into their bank accounts through RTGS/NEFT mode, instead of cheques,” said federation chairman N P Hirani.
“The move to start centres early had a salutary effect as private traders offered Rs 50 a quintal more to farmers,” Hirani said.
Generally, procurement starts before Diwali to make funds available to farmers for the festive season, but the federation wanted to open it after November 15 this time. The state government, however, prevailed over it to start early. “The area under cotton is 129.71 lakh hectares nationally. In the state, it is 38.27 lakh hectares this year, as against 41 lakh hectares last year,” Hirani said. He added, “Globally, cotton prices are likely to remain subdued this year. There was a huge carry-forward stock of unsold cotton from last year and the demand was too low from textile mills in the country. This time, prices are expected to rule between Rs 4,100 and Rs 4,400.”
The federation was ready to open up to 96 purchase centres and procure on behalf of the Cotton Corporation of India. “We purchased hardly 27 lakh quintals last year. This time, we are ready to buy up to 100 lakh quintals,” said Hirani.