Union minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday called for collective efforts to increase the country’s cotton productivity from 457 kg per hectare to around 800-900 kg per hectare.
“The world average is around 757 kg per hectare. India’s rank today is 34th, which is truly abysmally low. We should aspire to be among the top three productive countries in the world,” the minister for textiles, commerce & industry and consumer affairs, food & public distribution said.
He was delivering the inaugural address at the cotton meet organized by the Confederation of the Indian Textile Industry (CITI) on the occasion of Global Cotton Day, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and CITI CDRA Golden Jubilee Celebrations. According to Goyal, the trash content in imported cotton is 1%, whereas that in Indian cotton is 1.5 to 3%. “The Textiles Committee has been implementing assessment and star rating of ginning and pressing factories. I hope all our textile stakeholders will take advantage of this assessment and try to improve product quality,” he said.
He advised farmers to use Kapas plucker machines to control contamination levels at the farm level and make Indian cotton acceptable at the global level. He said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for sustainable development of cotton by capacity building, training, and adoption of best agriculture practices. The MoU will cover 1.5 lakh farmers and bring about larger areas of land under cultivation by increasing cultivating land area of 90,000 hectares in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh.
He also underlined the need to reduce import dependency and create self-sufficiency of extra-long-staple cotton and contaminate-controlled cotton. “Work is underway to boost the development of seed chain for newly released cotton varieties and introduction of extra-long-staple cotton variety. Organic cotton also has huge potential. India is the largest producer currently contributing 51% of the world's produce. We should look for global dominance in this sector,” he said. The minister said Apeda has developed standards for a chain of custody and feasibility for certification of cotton fibre from farm to build up and apparel. Cotton by-products like cottonseed, linters, hulls, and oil hold valuable opportunities for farmers and they should take advantage, he said.
The minister said the Indian brand of cotton launched last year as Kasturi Cotton India has started getting global recognition and has the potential to emerge as India’s premium raw material worldwide.