Farmers in Amreli took out a rally under the aegis of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and submitted a memorandum to district collector demanding better prices for their produce like cotton, groundnut and sorghum on Thursday. There were reports of similar rallies from other districts of Saurashtra also.
Around 3,000 farmers assembled at Rajkamal Chowk in Amreli town and staged dharna. They raised slogans demanding better market prices for agriculture products. Later, the farmers marched in form of a rally to the office of district collector and submitted a memorandum.
“Price of cotton in agriculture produce marketing committees (APMCs) is not going beyond Rs 800. If the same trend continues, cotton growers will be devastated. We demand, Central government raise the minimum support price (MSP) from the present Rs 800 to Rs 810 per 20 kg and state government also declare incentive on the MSP,” Praful Sejalia, president of organic farming cell of Gujarat unit of BKS, said.
BKS is a pan-India organisation of farmers.
Sejalia said farmers cotton growers should get price of at least Rs 1,200. “We are already facing a low yield year due to deficient rain and useasonal showers. Given the high input cost, the remunerative price for cotton will be Rs1,200. The average price of Rs1,000 last season was also bargain at loss,” Sejalia further said.
The farmer leader demanded government make its intervention in the open market more broad based by ordering Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to open more purchasing centres. “The CCI has not opened a single centre in Amreli,” said Sejalia.
Incidentally, farmers had forcefully stopped auction of cotton at Babra AMPC a few weeks ago demanding better prices. Amreli is among the major cotton growing districts in Saurashtra.
The CCI, a body which functions under the Union Ministry of Textiles, has opened seven centres in 10 districts of Saurashtra and has been making selective purchase of cotton at MSP since early this month.
Farmers also took out a rally in Junagadh and submitted a memorandum to their district collector. Farmer leader and police had an argument after police stopped farmers from making bonfire of cotton to protest what they called low prices of the natural fiber.