The state government has taken a decision to launch Cotton Mission, complete with foolproof market linkages, to help farmers get higher renumeration for cash crop. The mission will be launched from Vidarbha, which is among the highest cotton cultivating regions of Maharashtra.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has given a nod to the project that entails expansion of multi-commodity exchange (MCX) in districts of Vidarbha.
The first phase of the Cotton Mission, complete with MCX, will be taken up as a pilot project in districts of Wardha, Akola and Amravati. Sources in the government said, “The objective of Cotton Mission is to provide a robust infrastructure to farmers, complete with forward linkages and access to the commodities market.”
Although the government has always mandated minimum support price (MSP) for the cotton crop, often there are various factors, including pest attacks and climatic conditions, which prove detrimental to farmers in fetching higher dividends. Apart from initiating measures to streamline financial flow through increased credit crop loans to cotton cultivators, the government believes access to MCX is essential. The aims and objectives, which have been cited by government officials on MCX states, “Cotton being the prime crop in Vidarbha, a Mission focusing on enhancing market linkages to provide the right support to our farmers, is a must.”
The Cotton Mission with MCX in Akola, Amravati and Wardha will focus on the creation of cotton farmer producers’ organization (FBOs). The MCX and agriculture department will together identify groups of cotton farmers for the creation of FPOs. To make cotton cultivation more economically viable, the state government has also incorporated group farming in the Cotton Mission.
Another area of concern highlighted under Cotton Mission is the expansion of warehouses. At present, there are warehouses in Yavatmal and Jalgaon.