Cotton has been the engine of growth for the Indian Textiles and Clothing Industry that provides jobs to 105 million people including 6.5 million cotton farmers especially from the rural mass and women folks.  Taking advantage of the various unique industry-oriented relief measures, foreign trade policy, pent-up demand that arose in the post-COVID period,the Indian textile industry achieved record performance during the year 2021-22.  But the industry started facing challenges due to steep increase in cotton prices and shortage of cotton.  The annual cotton production in the country dropped to the lowest level of 315 lakh bales in the recent years due to erratic weather, pink boll worm attack and lack of technology and good farming practices.

Realizing the urgent need for enhancing cotton production, productivity, quality and branding Indian cotton, the Union Textile Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal, constituted a Textile Advisory Group under the Chairmanship of Shri Suresh A Kotak, a veteran in cotton, and conducted two meetings in a short span of time and also conducted all cotton stakeholders meeting on 24th July 2022 along with the Union Minister of Agriculture, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister of State for Textiles, Smt. Darshana Vikram Jardosh and came up with numerous short and long term strategies not only to mitigate the current challenges, but also to achieve the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of 5Fs (Farm to Foreign).

In a joint Press Release issued here today, Mr.T.Rajkumar, Chairman of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), Mr.ManojkumarPatodia, Chairman, The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL) and Mr.Ravi Sam, Chairman of The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), who attended the stakeholders meeting,  have highly appreciated the unstinted efforts constantly taken by the Hon’ble Union Minister of Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal.  They have said that India has to adopt global best practices to improve cotton productivity and quality and also brand the Indian cotton and textile products for the benefit of all the stakeholders in the cotton textile value chain including the farmers as stated by Shri Piyush Goyal.  They have said that the stakeholders should come together in a mission mode for holistic growth of cotton textile value chain in India as advised by the Textile Minister.   The strategy to have testing facilities from Farm to Industry and also production of clean and contamination free cotton would soon enable the country to brand the Indian cotton and its textile products on par with any other international cotton.   The decision of using coloured HDPE bag for fertilizer packing would resolve the perennial problem regarding white HDPE contamination present in the Indian cotton as the farmers use these bags for handling of Kapas (seed cotton), say the Chiefs of CITI, TEXPROCIL and SIMA.

They stated that tremendous opportunities would emerge with the signing of FTAs with UAE and Australia and significant progress made for conclusion of FTA’s with EU, UK and Canada. Also with the support of benefits extended in the form of RoSCTL, RoDTEP, NTTM and PM MITRA schemes, the demand for quality cotton would increase exponentially.  They said that the efforts made by Shri Piyush Goyal would bring back the dominance of India in the international market.  They have appreciated the decision of using right seeds, adoption of modern technology and progressive agricultural practices would enable India to increase the yield and profit margins of the cotton farmers.

The industry has welcomed the strategy to curb illegal sale of spurious seeds and educating the younger farmers to take a lead in using genetically pure certified seeds in addition to adopting  global best practices by training them intensively.  The Chairmen of CITI, TEXPROCIL and SIMA have appreciated the strategy  of industry taking the lead in the cotton development programmes and requested all the manufacturing segments especially the users of cotton to come forward, extend necessary financial support for creating corpus for the joint initiatives of cotton development programme.  They have said it is very essential for the industry to take the lead if India wants to derive the benefits of FTAs and emerging new market opportunities as the country had already started facing shortage of cotton.

They thanked Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, who had indicated to adopt short & long term strategies for boosting cotton production and productivity by adopting certain modern technologies like high density farming and micro irrigation across the country.  They have said that first of its kind meeting at the level of Union Ministers of Agriculture and Textiles has given enormous boost and encouragement to all the stakeholders in the cotton textile value chain.  They have also thanked the Hon’ble Ministers  for appreciating the cotton research & development works carried out by Cotton Development & Research Associations of CITI and SIMA.