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Cotton pilot in 10 states to boost output

New Delhi: The government has started a pilot in 10 states involving 15,000 farmers to increase production of the best-quality cotton by adopting global agricultural practices, said textiles secretary Rachna Shah on Wednesday.

The project, which has been launched by the textile ministry in coordination with the agriculture ministry, comes amid a slump in cotton production.

“The outcome of the pilot project is expected in January next year. The data will be evaluated by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and then we will be able to realise the impact of these technologies,” the secretary said.

“We are working very closely with the agriculture ministry and other stakeholders to increase cotton productivity. We are using best agronomy practices like quality seeds and high density planting system that will help in enhancing productivity and other local innovations,” Shah said at a press conference called to announce the agenda of 81st plenary meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) starting 2 December in Mumbai.

The 10 cotton growing states where the pilot is going on are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka .

As of now, the government has procured around 250,000 bales (170 kg each) after the cotton season started in October.

A total 450 procurement centres are operational across 11 cotton growing states, the official said.

The government has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) for medium staple cotton at 6,620/ quintal and for long staple cotton at 7020/quintal.

“Cotton is one of the leading sectors for economic activity for livelihood and it plays a pivotal role in the growth of the Indian economy as around 6 million farmers are engaged in cotton production and 35 million farmers grow cotton across the globe,” the official said.

As per textile ministry data, cotton production came down from in 37 million bales 2017-18 to 33 million bales next year. After a significant growth in 2019-20 (36 million bales), output fell to 35 million bales in 2020-21 and 31 million bales in 2021-22. Total production of the white gold in 2022-23 was 34 million bales.

India will showcase its recent innovations, achievements and best practices at the global platform, she said, adding that the country will launch products made of Kasturi Cotton, a premier variety, before the international audience for the first time.

Around 400 delegates from 35 countries are expected to participate in the meeting.

The plenary meetings of the ICAC provide a forum for discussions on international issues of importance to the world cotton industry, and give an opportunity for the industry and government leaders from cotton producing, consuming and trading countries to deliberate on matters of mutual concern. The ICAC plenary is also very important for promotion of trade, industry and culture.

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Updated: 29 Nov 2023, 10:23 PM IST


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