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SIMA launches ELS organic cotton contract farming pilot project in Tamilnadu.

Published: March 24, 2021
Author: Manali bhanushali

Though India has become the largest producer of cotton in the world, the country faces acute shortage of Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton as the BT technology that was introduced during 2003, provided the technology only for long staple cotton.  The country consumes around 20 lakhs bales of ELS cotton while it produces only 4 to 5 lakhs bales in a year and imports around 15 lakh bales of such cotton.  The Government of India has been encouraging promotion of ELS cotton and is in the process of announcing a scheme shortly.  The Government has also been encouraging the production of organic cotton not only to protect the soil health and environment, but also to meet the growing demand of domestic and international markets.  Organic cotton textiles and clothing products command good premium in the market.  As the organic certification agency and APIDA have tightened the norms for organic cotton cultivation, the industry is facing acute shortage of organic cotton.

SIMA Cotton Development & Research Association (SIMA CD & RA) established in the year 1974, has been producing genetically pure cotton seeds to the tune of 600 metric tonnes per year and supplying to the farmers.  SIMA is the only NGO maintaining around 700 Gemplasm of precious Indian cotton varieties.  SIMA has recently submitted its proposal for the development of ELS cotton, organic cotton and naturally colored cotton to the Government.  SIMA CD & RA has designed and developed a Kapas Plucker that enables the farmers to double their net income apart from producing contamination free and least trashy cotton.  Cotton Corporation of India, Ministry of Textiles and Government of Tamilnadu have been extending subsidies to SIMA CD & RA and the farmers during the last two years both for ELS cotton promotion and also for the free distribution of SIMA Kapas Plucker machines to the farmers.  During the last year, the Government of Tamilnadu provided subsidy to distribute 200 metric tonnes of SIMA ELS seeds to the farmers at free of cost through Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).  CCI and Government of Tamilnadu have also distributed around 9000 Kapas Plucker Machines at free of cost to the farmers.

In a Press Release issued here today, Mr.R.Ravichandran, Chairman, SIMA CD & RA stated that M/s. Precot Limited, Coimbatore has come forward to sign a MoU with SIMA CD & RA for the production of ELS organic cotton cultivation by supplying all the inputs at free of cost to the farmers and also guaranteeing to procure cotton at market price.  Mr.Ravichandran has stated that the MoU has been signed for the production of ELS organic cotton on a pilot basis in an area of 500 acres at Semmandipatti Village, Namakkal District.  He has added that the project was launched this afternoon (24.3.2021).  SIMA CD & RA Chairman has stated that the organic ELS cotton will have staple length of over 33 mm and would be suitable to produce organic yarn of counts upto 80s.  He has stated that the crop duration is around 160 days and expected to give the productivity of 10 quintals per acre.

The function was presided over by Dr.Asha Rani, Secretary cum Chief Cotton Breeder of SIMA CD & RA.  Mr.G.Kondalswamy, Head (Raw materials), Precot Limited inaugurated the function.  Mr.R.Baskar, Assistant Manager, Marketing Division, Pest Control India Private Limited, Salem felicitated the function.  SIMA CD & RA Chief stated that the function attracted around 250 farmers.  He has hoped that the Association would be in a position to multiply the organic ELS cotton cultivation under contract farming on a fast track in the coming years with the support of industry and Government

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