Cotton: Looking Back and Beyond!
Anurima Das throws light on the evolution and importance of cotton.
Cotton has been a historically relevant crop in India, right from being used as a fibre for all our garmenting needs to cotton oil and de-oiled cakes from its residue which has served as fodder for humans and animals alike. Cotton and its importance exceeds every expectation and offers an opportunity for growth. From farmers to ginners to weavers, everyone throughout the supply chain benefits from cotton in their own way. Thus, it is obvious to equate the cotton production capacity of the country with the consumption capacity.
INDIA HAS BECOME A MAJOR COTTON PRODUCER IN THE WORLD AND IS ALSO A NET COTTON SURPLUS COUNTRY.
According to the recently released report by the Cotton Association of India (CAI), the cotton crop for the 2017-18 season beginning October 1, 2017, has been calculated at 365 lakh bales of 170 kilos each, which is higher by five lakh bales from the last calculation. The bale calculation mentioned by CAI primarily lists a few states at the top of the list. These are: three lakh bales in Gujarat, one lakh bales in Karnataka, 50,000 bales in Andhra Pradesh and 25,000 bales each in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Conversely, the Indian Cotton Federation (ICF) has mentioned that the availability of cotton in the upcoming season, that is OctoberSeptember (2018-2019), will be extremely comfortable. As per their reports, the area under cotton production has been pegged at 122.38 lakh hectares as against 122.53 lakh hectares reported during December 2017.
According to the recent information given by the Minister of State for Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Government has been implementing the Cotton Development Programme with a focus on the cropping system approach under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) in major cotton growing states since 2014-15 to enhance the production and productivity of cotton. Thrust has been given on transfer of technology through front-line demonstrations and training in order to extend benefits to farmers. In addition, states can support the Cotton Development Programme under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna.
Additionally, to provide remunerative prices to cotton cultivators in the country, the Government has fixed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of cotton for the 2018-19 season at R5,150 per quintal for medium staple and at R5,450 per quintal for long staple. This provides a margin of 50 per cent over all India paid-out costs, including family labour. As a result of various initiatives taken by the Government, India has become a major cotton producer in the world and is also a net cotton surplus country.