New Delhi, Wednesday, July 11, 2018: CITI CDRA on June 26th, 2018 started work in Madhya Pradesh. It recently inaugurated initiative for cotton collaboration in the state of Madhya Pradesh, starting from the Ratlam district followed by another inaugural event held on 5th July 2018 at Jhabua district (M.P) for training cotton farmers on package of practices while cultivating Extra Long Staple cotton. The event was attended by State Government officials, from Agriculture Department of districts of Ratlam, Jhabua and Dhar, besides, Senior Scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s from these districts and representatives of cotton traders, ginning and pressing factories. The farmers were given information regarding the mission and objective of the initiative. Success stories of initiatives undertaken in Rajasthan and Maharashtra were also shared with the farmers. Representatives from local Ginning and Processing facilities assured the farmers of improvement of their facilities, which will result in increasing the value of the cotton. The farmers were also informed about Pest and Diseases of Cotton and their Management and were encouraged to grow ELS varieties of Cotton and BT Hybrids of Cotton. Representatives of cotton traders assured farmers of a fair deal while purchasing quality kapas of ELS cotton.
Mr. Sanjay Jain, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) stated that CITI undertakes cotton development and extension activities through its extension arm – CITI Cotton Development & Research Association (CITI CDRA). Since its inception in 1970, it has been involved in various initiatives in different parts of India for improvement in yield and production of cotton, creating awareness among the cotton growers from the project areas about the latest production, plant protection and nutrient management technologies and equipping the farmers with technological awareness for sustaining cotton production and improving the economic status.
Mr. P.D. Patodia, Convener of CITI-CDRA pointed out that CITI-CDRA has made strides in cotton development in Rajasthan through its initiatives in the State. It is set to complete a decade (2008-09 to 2017-18) of its Collaborative cotton development activities in rain dependent major cotton growing districts of Lower Rajasthan. CITI along with State Agriculture Department, Bayer Crop Science and regional Textile Mills Associations conducted a Cotton Collaboration Initiative in rain dependent districts. The mission was to improve cotton production and upliftment of cotton farmers. It conducted Front-line Demonstrations for farmers in their farms for the spread and adoption of latest production, plant protection and nutrient management technologies.
Mr. Jain highlighted that the initiatives resulted in increase of cotton production in lower Rajasthan (project area) from 1.91 lakh bales in 2007-08 to around 13 lakh bales in 2017-18, an increase of 581% and in overall Rajasthan, it increased from 9 lakh bales to 22 lakh bales for the same period, showing an increase of 144%. The cotton yield in Rajasthan increased 79% from 415 kgs of lint per hectare in 2007-08 to 744 kgs of lint per hectare in 2017-18. For the same time period, average yield in project areas was 863 lint/ha as compared to state average of 398 lint/ha.
Thus, local textile mills dependence on other states for cotton requirement reduced from 80% to 20%, giving impetus to Rajasthan textile sector and also led to local farmer’s income increasing substantially.
Mr. Patodia also mentioned that as a part of initiatives in Rajasthan, CITI-CDRA in collaboration with Bayer Crop Science, has embarked upon the project for promoting ELS cotton in Banswara district for the last two years.
A wide variety of ELS seeds were tested in various villages of Banswara district of Rajasthan and Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh. In terms of quality, the performance of these cottons was found to be encouraging and the production was increased. Mr. Jain is hopeful that such initiatives would help in increasing the yield of ELS cotton and create awareness among the farmers regarding growing these varieties. Thus, will impact the overall production of ELS cotton in the state and the country.
CITI-CDRA has similar Cotton Collaboration Projects being implemented in Maharashtra where the cotton growers were given information regarding sustainable growing of cotton, importance of preventing contamination, better use of fertilizers and modern farming methods like high density planting and drip irrigation.
Mr. Patodia also mentioned, to promote better farming techniques, CITI-CDRA organizes Kisan Melas for cotton growers. The cotton growers with the maximum yield are felicitated and awarded at Kisan Melas. Furthermore, the Kisan Melas are a platform for senior scientists in the field to communicate with farmers and inform them about the latest innovations made in the industry.
Mr. Jain believes that such initiatives will help in improving the overall scene of cotton production in India. However, this is just a drop in the ocean, to make a big change, he urges, the Government of India to conduct similar projects and invest extensively for research in development of cotton seeds with better yield and productivity. Industry is hopeful of TMC II being started very soon to provide further impetus to cotton farming.
Further, Mr. Jain emphasized to build a Direct Subsidy based on remuneration per hectare of land to cotton growers rather than a market linked MSP system which distorts the normal market flow and impacts quality, competitiveness and growth of the entire value chain which employs more than 10 crore people (large percentage being rural women).