Cotton being a commercial crop, it can be cultivated even under low rainfall conditions. Farmers in the district continue to grow it despite problems such as labour, low remuneration and growing input costs.
They cultivate cotton in an extent of six lakh acres annually but due to unfavourable conditions, it was grown only in five lakh acres last season.
However, agricultural scientists believe that next season it will be cultivated in six lakh acres or more as there is forecast of low rainfall. “Many opted for maize last season but again, farmers will opt for cotton in view of the deficient rainfall this time,” said District Agriculture Technology & Transfer (DATT) centre director R. Uma Reddy.
Farmers have been demanding a good remunerative price, which was fixed at Rs. 4,050, but majority were paid between Rs. 3,800 and Rs. 3,900 per quintal. Farmers were also facing the problem of inadequate labour in villages owing to the MNREGS programme. Not many were willing to work with farmers as they get more wages under the programme.
“The only solution is to introduce farm mechanization in a big way. Sowing and harvesting can be done by machines,” Mr. Uma Reddy said.
Agricultural scientists have been asking the government to set up a Cotton Research Centre to develop local varieties that would be beneficial to farmers. There was only one centre in the erstwhile State but there is no research centre in Telangana.
Mr. Uma Reddy said they had been advising farmers to sow only the non-BT variety of cotton and cultivate the crop in black soil only. Otherwise, there would be a problem of low yield and pests.
Source : The Hindu