By admin       2017-06-19

Left disappointed with poor rate fetched by the tur crop, Vidarbha farmers are once again betting high on cotton. According to initial reports of sowing trends, cotton-growing area is expected to increase bringing down area where tur will be grown. Traditionally, cotton has been the mainstream crop of Vidarbha and is also linked with the agrarian crisis here. Experts fear higher dependence on cotton will make the region's farmer vulnerable. Reducing tur production can once again bring the availability to moderate levels. There are chances that tur may be costly again next year. There was a major shift to tur in the last two years after rates of the commodity touched Rs200 a kg in retail market. The area under this pulses went up substantially for the Kharif season of 2016-17 with farmers hoping to once again a handsome price. However, it led to a glut with tur being sold even less than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs5,050. Farmers are not happy with the pace of procurement at government's MSP centres. Traders say sale of tur seeds are back to the pre-2015 level. According to sources in the agriculture department, initial trends show that tur will come back to its inter-crop status grown between two lines of cotton or soyabean. Final figures will be compiled by the agriculture department only by July end. Analysts say cotton got a price of Rs5,500 a quintal as against close to MSP of Rs4,000 in earlier years. Last year's trends have prompted farmers to go for cotton. "However, this can be a risky proposition as cotton rates are subject to manipulation by market forces," say experts. "An increase in area under cotton is not desirable. Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), has already warned about resistance developed by bollworm to genetically modified Bt cotton. After pink bollworm, the crop may be susceptible to other varieties of the pest, which hits the output," said Kishore Tiwari, the director of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM). The area under soyabean is also being replaced with cotton as the crop did not fetch a good price last year. "Farmers in areas like Buldhana and Washim districts, which predominantly grow soyabean, have increased the area under cotton," said Tiwari. Sharad Chandak, of Nagpur Agro Dealers' Association, said when compared to last year the sale of tur seeds has reduced by 40%. " At the same time, there is a fall in sale of cotton seeds too but that does not mean that the area under cultivation has come down. There are reports of rampant business going on in the grey market. Round-up resistant, a genetically modified cotton seed, which has not been approved by the government so far is being sold unofficially. The seed is resistant to weed killers," said Chandak. Roshan Kothari, a dealer in Wani tehsil of Yavatmal district, reported a reduction of 25% in the sale of tur seeds in the region. "It may be too early to get the exact figures, but initial reports say the sale of tur seeds is down as compared to the previous year. This also means that it can be back to the normal level maintained a couple of years ago. The supply too will come down but only as compared to the last two seasons. The increased production had led to a surplus availability of the commodity," said Madhav Shembheker, the managing director of Ankur Seeds. "I am not sowing tur even in a single acre of land this year. Last year's stock itself has not been sold entirely yet," said Nitin Khadse of Jalka village in Yavatmal district. "The area under tur has come down substantially, as farmers have been left discouraged with last year's situation," said Vijay Ingole, a farmer in Achalpur Tehsil of Amravati district.

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