Bonus For Cotton Farmers By Gujarat Govt: May Play Crucial Role In Coming Assembly Polls
The Gujarat government had announced 3.5 per cent per pound of bonus for cotton farmers by the state of Gujarat, which roughly translates to Rs 500 per quintal. This announcement has once again started a competition in policy makers to appease farmers. The payment is for farmers that sell their seed cotton to state procurement agencies and is in addition to the minimum support price (MSP) announced by the Government of India
Photo Credit : Reuters
Gujarat’s cotton farmers were in huge distress post floods in July, where it was expected to have severe damages on cotton production. Gujarat government has started giving relief to farmers at a time when it is required but caught attention for the timing of their decision which became effective prior to assembly polls in Gujarat. An effective order from the 1st November 2017 by the Gujarat government says that the state government will provide an additional Rs. 500 per 100 kg to farmers as extra compensation for seed cotton. The bonus amount of Rs. 500 per 100 kg roughly equates to 3.5 cents per pound above the MSP announced by the Government of India. The bonus amount is the same for all cotton varieties grown in the state.
The MSP announced for the most popular cotton variety knows as ‘Shankar six’, is Rs. 4,270 per 100 kg. With the bonus, farmers in Gujarat will receive Rs. 4,770 per 100 kg or 33.3 cents per pound for their seed cotton. According to the first advance estimates published by the state government, the area planted under cotton is nearly 2.7 million hectares, with an estimated production of 7.4 million 170 kg bales (5.7 million 480 lb. bales / 1.25 mmt).
Advance estimates of cotton
The Gujarat Government Tweet & assembly polls
Addressing the farmers via twitter handle, the state chief minister’s office of Gujarat had tweeted on the October 23rd that “As per the farmers friendly decision by chief minister, Guj Govt declares a bonus of Rs.100 per 20 kg for cotton to be paid to farmers of the state over and above the minimum support price Guj Govt declares a bonus of Rs.100 per 20 kg for cotton to be paid to farmers of the state over and above the minimum support priceGujarat govt. declares a bonus of Rs 100 per 20 kilogram for cotton to be paid to farmers of the state over and above the minimum support price.” It was the declaration that caught attention of the opposition parties who were critical about distress in cotton producing farmers. Cotton which is a cash crop returns a better benefit than traditional food grains and in the last three decades, most of the cash rich farmers had adopted cotton as their primary choice apart from groundnut and other oil seeds.
Post Sardar Sarovar Dam project, this declaration has been observed as a game changer in the coming assembly polls as Gujarat had some 2658 thousand hectares of cotton sowing area this Kharif season and expected yields are projected to be 525 kilograms/ hectare (see figure for estimates).