Home / Industry / Agriculture /  Govt plans key reforms as surplus cotton narrows
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The union government is set to initiate number of reforms such as introducing new variety of cotton seeds, scaling macro irrigation and incentivising extra long staple (ELS) variety of cotton aimed at boosting cotton production in the country, Textiles Secretary U P Singh said on Sunday. 

“India has been the largest producer and exporter of cotton for quite some time now. But of late, chances are that we will become a net importer of cotton from being a net exporter. The reason is that while cotton production and productivity have not increased, cotton consumption is rising," Singh said during a press conference. 

This comes as Cotton productivity has remained little changed over the year and averages in the range of 450 kg per hectare to 500 kg per hectare compared to 400 kg per hectare in 2006-07. Meanwhile, the global average of cotton productivity stands at 877 kg per hectare.

“Our production of extra long staple (ELS) variety of cotton is lower than the demand in the domestic market and that has been one of the items imported. There are suggestions that MSP could be fixed for the ELS variety of cotton by introducing a new category for the same," he added.

Cotton production also assumes significance as textile forms a significant portion in the free trade agreements (FTA) that India is negotiating with countries such as the UK and EU. Besides, industry representatives expect textile demand from India to rise on account of the FTA signed with UAE and Australia. 

Textile Minister Piyush Goyal said that all stakeholders must share best practices to boost cotton productivity in India to boost farmer incomes. Private sector must contribute to boost research in productivity, farmers education as well as branding to which government would provide matching support, Goyal said according to a statement released by the Textile Ministry.

Singh further stated that the cotton production estimate this year is lowest compared to the last few years at around 315 lakh bales. He added that the cotton production on an average was in the range of 350 to 360 lakh bales every year, while the domestic consumption stood at around 300 lakh bales.

“We used to have 50 to 60 lakh bales in surplus but the surplus is falling every year. Besides, Indian industry had a 10% price advantage as far as cotton industry was concerned, which is no longer there because our consumption would outstrip the production and in our very near future," Singh said.

Goyal further said that the private sector has to act in a mission mode to strengthen the Cotton Value Chain. He further added that we need to brand our own cotton which is good quality by equal contribution from Industry.

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