By admin       2018-08-09

There are reports that the Union agriculture department has sought clarification from the Maharashtra government regarding mismatch in the area affected by pest attack and total cotton area under cultivation. An agriculture ministry official said that after the state clarifies, farmers will be given assistance under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). There were reports that the central government feels that the farmers’ claims may not be genuine. Shetty said, “The government’s approach for assistance to farmers, who have suffered genuine losses, is not conducive to farmers. Losses due to bollworm have been huge in the last two years. Even the PM’s crop insurance scheme has not helped farmers. In fact, some private insurers give bogus reasons to decline claims. I exposed such a scam in Parabhani where state government will have to suspend 11 officials.” The Union ministry of agriculture has also found mismatches in arrivals and damage figures. However, apart from farmers, even the traders don’t buy the Centre’s arguments. According to CAI, in the cotton year (October to September) 2016-17, cotton sowing in Maharashtra was done in 3.7 million hectares while production was 8.9 million bales. In 2017-18, the area increased to 4.2 million while the crop fell to 8.2 million bales. In 2018-19, the initial indication shows that the area would drop to 3.8 million hectares while crop may be even lower at 7.5 to 8 million bales. Bollworms, genetic revolution failure sting Vidarbha's cotton farmers: Atul Ganatra, president of CAI, said that even the yield in Maharashtra has fallen to lowest in the country. He said the all-India average yield is 3 bales per hectare while Maharashtra’s yield in 2017-18 has been estimated at 2 hectares, which is the lowest. Owing to the pink bollworm attack, farmers faced huge damages and to avoid this, the state has advised them to take only two pickings instead of 4-5 in a year, thus affecting their production and productivity. Daga found that there was no rain in the last 25 days in most of the cotton areas and many farmers diverted from cotton to soybeans or have done re-sowing of cotton.

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