Fresh initiatives to revive desi cotton

Chennai, June 19: Ask any cotton farmer and he will tell you that there is no market for desi cotton that comes in many varieties, including Kurunganni from Tamil Nadu, Pondru from Andhra Pradesh, Magad and Kaala from Gujarat, Jayadhar and Pandharapur from Karnataka.

Malathi, wife of a farmer from Nagapattinam district, recalls how they switched to other crops after desi cotton failed to fetch them good price.

“It took a lot of time to pluck the cotton. Sometimes, if it looked like it would rain and the promised farm hands did not turn up, my husband and I had to pluck the cotton ourselves. And we didn’t get a good price for the work we put in,” she said.

This is the voice of most of the desi cotton farmers. But organisations such as Tula, Sahaja Samrudha and Simcodess have come together to revive desi cotton varieties.