Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday said that the government is in talks with the Textiles Ministry to find ways to bail out cotton farmers in the country who are severely affected by the sharp fall in procurement price in the open market. A meeting with the Cotton Commission of India (CCI), under the Textiles Ministry, will be held for the same on November 11, he said.
The price of cotton in the open market has fallen below the MSP which is determined by the Centre, and is being sold at around Rs 780-810 per 20 kg as against MSP of Rs 820 per 20 kg. This has created the need for the Centre to intervene to buy cotton through the CCI at the MSP.
“We have written to the CCI to increase the procurement of cotton at the MSP. Since the CCI falls under the Textiles Ministry, we are in talks with the ministry for the same and will hold a meeting on November 11. The problem is not state-centric, but is seen across all cotton producing states. Officials of the two ministries and CCI will meet on November 11 to ensure that cotton farmers get right support,” Singh said at an event to launch the golden jubilee year celebration of the National Dairy Development Board at Anand.
Gujarat, which produces nearly a third of country’s cotton, is facing the crisis like other other significant cotton-producing states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka. Gujarat has seen bumper cotton production at around 10 million bales this year, around a million bales more than last year. Also, the area under the crop has also gone up, with farmers deciding to sow cotton due to high price realisation for the last several years.
This has led to the expansion of the area under cotton in the state from 26.88 lakh hectare to 30.06 lakh hectare, which is in line with the overall rise in area under cotton in the country from 114.37 lakh hectare to a record 126.55 lakh hectare.
NDDB, which was set up 50 years ago to strengthen dairy cooperative, will celebrate the golden jubilee year for a year. It has constituted NDDB Dairy Excellence Award which will be conferred on dairy co-operatives for “management excellence, value for farmers, and social and gender inclusion.” The award will be given under three categories: large, medium and small organisations. In each category, two organisations will be given cash awards of Rs 5 lakh each. A dairy knowledge portal, http://www.dairyknowledge.in, was also launched on the occasion. It will serve as a single source access for all data relevant to key stakeholders.
Singh, along with state agriculture minister Babubhai Bokhiria, felicitated five people who were part of the White Revolution and began cooperative movements in the country.