Although cotton prices have not touched the minimum support price ( MSP) levels yet, Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh has already directed the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) to commence online registration of farmers for the purchase of cotton from October 18 for the season of 2017-18. Cautioning farmers against distress sales, the minister said that no farmer should sell cotton below MSP levels. Prior to this, the Maharashtra State Marketing Federation (MSMF) will establish procurement centres for cotton purchase under the aegis of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), he said.
The federation shall open 60 centres and CCI may also open another 60 centres across the cotton-growing regions of the state, he said. Cotton MSP has been raised by Rs 160 per quintal to Rs 4,020 per quintal for medium staple cotton and Rs 4,320 per quintal for long staple cotton. CCI and Nafed are the two agencies appointed by the government to extend the necessary marketing support to the cotton growers in selling their produce at most competitive prices in various market yards in all cotton-growing states. These in turn appoint sub-agencies to procure cotton at the local level as well.
CCI chief MM Chokalingam said that cotton prices have not reached the MSP levels and were ruling at Rs 4,320 per quintal. “Our officials are visiting mandis on a daily basis and are keeping a watch on the situation. Should the need arise, CCI shall intervene and begin cotton purchase,” he said.
The total production for the season of 2017-18 is likely to touch 370 lakh bales against 345 lakh bales for the previous season, he said. Chokalingam said that the procurement centres will be ready in October when the season begins and a review will be taken to ascertain if there is any need for market intervention.
Normally, CCI opens some 341 procurement centres across the country. However, this season, another additional 20 centres are expected to be established, he said. Cotton arrivals have already begun in Punjab and prices are near the MSP levels, he said, adding that the prices in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are still above the MSP.
“Arrivals in other cotton-growing regions should begin from October 15 and we expect prices to fall once arrivals begin in full swing,” he said. As per the Union ministry of agriculture, cotton had been sown on 111.55 lakh hectares till July 28, against 92.33 lakh hectares the same period last year.