The Cotton Association of India (CAI) plans to set up a full-fledged training institute for farmers in Mumbai, at a time when the country’s cotton sector is experiencing a difficult phase, an official said here on Thursday.
CAI President A.S. Ganatra said that its board has cleared the proposal to establish an All India Training Centre for Farmers at its Cotton Green premises in south Mumbai.
“We are conscious of the challenges ahead in realising this dream. But, with the support of all the stakeholders, we can achieve it. It would go a long way in realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022,” Ganatra said at the inaugural session of “Cotton India 2018” national conference earlier.
At present, cotton is grown in 10 states in the country over 122 lakh hectares, under varying agro-climatic conditions, with relatively small land holdings. Nearly 60 per cent of the total area under cotton is rain-fed making is susceptible to the vagaries of nature.
“Despite all odds, the sector has notched an envious growth and carved a niche for itself in the world cotton market. Today, India is the world leader with a crop of 360 lakh bales of 170 kg cotton each, from nearly one-third of the global acreage,” Ganatra said. Besides, India is the second-largest consumer of cotton, ranking next only to China, with the annual domestic consumption likely to touch 330 lakh bales during the current year.
This is further bolstered by several new textile mills coming up in Gujarat and other states adding around 3.50 million new spindles this year, he added. India is not only the second-largest exporter of cotton in the world after the USA but also has a vibrant import market. He said that there exists a huge untapped potential in this sector and if exploited to its optimum, Indian can become a “cotton superpower” in the world.
“We have taken giant strides in terms of productivity, but its still below the global average. Against the world average productivity mark of 779 kg per hectare, India still manages around 500 kgs per hectare,” Ganatra pointed out.
If the country can achieve the world per hectare average productivity mark, the Indian cotton output would witness a quantum jump, he opined. Referring to other issues bogging down the sector, he said excess moisture due to pouring water on the cotton bales, poor quality of package of the bales, lack of uniformity in bale weight and different trading norms across the country, absence of contract sanctity and lack of training facilities need urgent attention.