Agri Business

Centre urges CCI to step up cotton procurement 

| Updated on: Nov 12, 2014

With a record harvest but falling global prices, the Government has asked the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to step up its procurement of raw cotton at the minimum support price (MSP) to prevent distress sales.

At a meeting called by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh which had the Ministers of Commerce, Textiles and Labour present, the state-run CCI was advised to open more centres to step up the process of buying cotton lest it fall below the MSP. Reports had earlier indicated that cotton prices were ruling below the MSP of Rs. 4,050 in some areas.

“Procurement has already begun in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana but the number of centres will be increased. Similar operations will begin in Maharashtra and Gujarat as well, it is not too late,” Singh told reporters after the meeting.

About 2.5 lakh bales of 170 kg. each has been procured already from Telangana and AP by the CCI, which operates under the Textiles Ministry.

“We won’t let farmers be affected, their protection is our first priority. The Government will take all measures to buy their cotton,” said Singh, adding that the number of CCI procurement centres in the southern states would increase to more than 130 from 90 at present.

Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar stated that no procurement cap had been decided. “More centres will be established wherever they are necessary. Whatever quantity is brought, it will be picked up at the MSP,” he said.

India is the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of cotton and is expected to produce a record 40 million bales in the current season that began on October 1. But with global prices and demand waning, domestic prices have slid considerably.

“State Governments must also come forward to extend their cooperation and if they find any nexus between traders and CCI officials then they should definitely take action against them,” urged Labour Minister Bangaru Dattatreya.

Published on November 12, 2014

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