Rain woes: plucking cotton balls turns tough

P. Mogulaiah is a farmer of Machareddypet in Munipally mandal. He cultivated cotton crop on about 10 acres by taking land on lease. During the harvesting of cotton last year, he signed an agreement with labourers for harvesting this season. He also paid some advance to them.

Many farmers from the district who cultivated cotton in Sangareddy district pay in advance to the labourers. The advance ranges between ₹20,000 and ₹50,000 for a family depending on the farmer and labour.

Many farmers arrived last week and erected temporary shelters in open fields near the cotton farms. They started plucking cotton but they were unable to pluck as they used to do so in the past. Usually, every labourer plucks between 50 kilograms to 70 kilograms of cotton every day. They are paid between ₹8 and ₹10 per kilogram. However, this year, the crop was partially damaged due to the rain and plucking cotton rolls became a tougher task. It has been taking longer time than before. Labourer have been demanding higher pay for their job.

“We used to collect about 60 kilograms of cotton every day, earning more than ₹500 per day. It has dropped down to 30 kilograms as the cotton got wet due to heavy rains. At one point of time, we were even ready to go back to our native place as the land owners turned down our request to increase the pay. What is the purpose of coming here all the way from about 400 kilometres if we do not get sufficient money for labour?” asked Mr. Mallayya, a labourer from Kurnool.

“We have already grown the crop and we can not go anywhere for labour now. It will be an additional burden for us to pay more for labour. At the same, what they are saying is also right. Plucking cotton balls is not an easy task. Hence we have increased the pay for them,” said Mr. Mogulaiah.

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