INDIA -Expressing concerns of cotton sales in the country, Indian agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh has asked Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to protect the interest of cotton farmers by ensuring procurement of cotton at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in the four cotton growing States, namely, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
As cotton prices have fallen, there has been reports that cotton has been procured in many states below MSP. The minister expressed his concern over the reports of sale of cotton in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh allegedly below the MSP.
Explaining the cotton scenario in the country CCI, CMD informed that CCI has taken all possible steps to increase the number of procurement centres.
CCI official also said that since it does not have any authority to appoint any cooperative federation to act as its agent, agriculture ministry may kindly look into the possibility of enhancing the government guarantee limit of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) for facilitating them to appoint state agency, Maharashtra federation.
At the meeting, Mr Singh (Pictured) directed CCI to release an advertisement giving details of the present number of procurement centres, their locations extra. Mr Singh also instructed CCI to increase their manpower including technical personnel so that procurement of cotton may be done effectively and told them to hold periodic press briefings to inform the farmers of CCI avenues.
In order to check exploitation of farmers by middleman in connivance with state government officials, surprise checks by senior officers should be conducted and senior officers should stay for a longer period in the field so that farmer’s interests are safeguarded fully and they don’t take recourse to distress sale of cotton, Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh further added that CCI should give wide publicity to the effect that export of cotton is open and they should give details of procurement so far in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It should also be publicised that procurement of cotton is going to take place in Maharashtra and Gujarat in a couple of days.
Commerce and Industry Minister stressed the need to establish a direct link between the buyer i.e (Government Procurement Agency) and the farmers. The CCI assured that the concerns raised in the meeting about the percentage of moistures in the cotton during initial procurement, quality losses due to gunny bags and increase in number of procurement centres will be taken care of and all possible steps will be taken to protect the interests of the farmers.
During the meeting Secretary, Commerce emphasised the need for exploring the possibility of new markets like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Turkey and Indonesia and long-term cotton export agreement with these countries.
The meeting was attended by ministers of state (MoS) for agriculture, Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, MoS - independent charge, commerce and industry, Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS – independent charge, labour and employment, Bandaru Dattatreya, MoS – independent charge, textiles, Santosh Gangwar and senior officers of the concerned ministries, CCI and NAFED.