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Maharashtra to write to Centre, urge rollback of cotton seed price hike

The Centre has said the price of Bt Cotton seeds will be raised to Rs 767 for a 450-gram packet. Earlier, this was Rs 730, thus amounting to an increase of Rs 37 per 450-gram packet.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
April 7, 2021 6:39:25 pm
bt cotton, bt cotton seeds, bt cotton seed prices, cotton seed price hike, cotton seed price hike maharashtra, indian expressLast kharif, Maharashtra registered a record production of 407 lakh quintal of cotton across an area of 44 lakh hectares. (File photo)

The Maharashtra government has objected to the Centre’s decision to increase Bt Cotton seed prices, with state agriculture minister Dadasaheb Bhuse Wednesday saying they would write to the Union government demanding a rollback.

The state government believes any increase in input cost during khariff sowing, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic, will compound farmers’ financial problems, sources said. Maharashtra cotton cultivators are already grappling with pink bollworm pest attack, and looking for ways to avoid “dobar perni”, or second sowing

In a notification, the Centre has stated that the price of Bt Cotton seeds would be raised to Rs 767 for a 450-gram packet. Earlier, this was Rs 730, thus amounting to an increase of Rs 37 per 450-gram packet.

The hike will adversely affect the small and marginal farmers cultivating cotton in the backward Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

Last kharif, the Minimum Support Price for cotton was Rs 5,500 per quintal. The state registered a record production of 407 lakh quintal (180 lakh bales each weighing 170 kg), across an area of 44 lakh hectares.

The state economic survey 2020-21 has predicted 33 per cent higher production of cotton in this kharif season.

At a meeting on Wednesday to plan pre-kharif preparations for cotton, Bhuse stressed on damage control measures to combat pest attacks.

Every village should adopt a uniform pattern and source Bt cotton seeds from the same sample, he said. This scheme, called ek gaon, ek vaan, plans to ensure every village uses high-quality cotton seeds sourced from one company. This, official said, would help curb substandard seeds supply, as the identity of the company and the seed grade would be known to every farmer. In case of any problem, the administration, too, will find it easier to take action against the company.

Apart from quality cotton seeds, the agriculture department has given instructions to farmers to use fertilisers judiciously and after adequate consultation with experts.

Agriculture centres in every taluka will handhold the farmers to ward off any problems during the kharif sowing, which begins mid-June, government sources said.

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