Source: The Hindu Businessline

Going organic has helped them earn nearly Rs.1,000 more a quintal on the MSP



In a country where Bt technology rules the cotton growing areas with over 99 per cent coverage, farmers from six villages in Jangaon district have treaded a different path. About 32 farmers in these villages have grown organic (non-Bt) cotton on 62 acres. Just like their peers, these farmers, too, have suffered losses due to untimely rains. But unlike them, they have not faced the pink bollworm attack or low-price scenario.

The farmers hail from the villages of Enabavi, Kallem, Manikyapuram, Siripuram, Jeedikal and Vanaparthi. Enabavi shunned using chemicals in agriculture over a decade ago. Farmers in the village follow organic methods, using biofertilisers and non-pesticide management techniques. “We don’t have the problem of pink bollworm. We have long stopped using chemical pesticides and practising organic farming methods,” says Ponnam Mallaiah, a farmer.

The 72-year-old Mallaiah started the organic farming movement in the village with the help of a non-governmental organisation, CROP. Encouraged by the results, fellow farmers in the village joined him. This led to the formation of a mutual-aid cooperative society to get a better price from buyers. The Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), which is promoting natural foods venture Sahaja Aaharam, is procuring cotton and other agriculture produce from the mutual-aid cooperative society. Ravi Kanneganti of CSA said all the member-farmers are small or marginal farmers, who come with an output of 2.5-7 quintals, earning an additional income of Rs.2,500-7,000.

Earning more

Telangana’s farmers have grown cotton on 46 lakh acres as against the average acreage of 30-35 lakh acres. Large-scale sale of Bt3 cottonseeds, untimely rains and virulent attacks by the pink bollworm have resulted in serious setbacks for small and marginal farmers.

But while a good number of their peers who grew Bt cotton facing the prospect of getting only Rs.3,500 a quintal, the farmers of Enabavi have received Rs.5,200 a quintal. If one considers the MSP, they have made a gain of almost Rs.1,000 over the MSP of Rs.4,320. “We expected an output of 250 quintals. But because of the rains, it dropped to 180,” Giribabu, a farmer, told BusinessLine.

(Source: The Hindu Businessline)