In a major relief to the cotton growers in Maharashtra, the state government has allowed to start its purchase from April 20 onwards. Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said, “Cotton purchase at the cotton procurement centres will start from April 20 across Maharashtra.
The govt has instructed the district collectors. The entire process will be conducted by adhering to all safety norms including social distancing at these centres to avoid spread of coronavirus.’’
The procurement of fair average quality (FAQ) cotton by Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation Limited (Cotton Federation) has come to a grind halt since the announcement of lockdown because of coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this, the non FAQ cotton, which generally arrives in the market in March, is also lying with the farmers.
Cotton Federation had recently urged the government to allow private traders to procure non-FAQ cotton Till March 23, 2020, ahead of the nation-wide lockdown, the Cotton Federation procured 54.07 lakh quintals of FAQ grade cotton from farmers worth Rs 2,947 crore.
Further, CCI procured 90 lakh quintal, and some private traders also procured FAQ grade cotton from farmers. Farmers still have about 25-30 lakh quintal of FAQ grade cotton available.
Political activist and agriculture expert Sanjay Khodke said, “Generally 20 people are engaged in the vehicle carrying cotton, its unloading and shifting to the ginning yard. Therefore, the government should give a special permission allowing these 20 people to stay in the ginning yard and thereby facilitate this work smoothly while maintaining the social distancing.’’