India Plans Cotton Technology Mission For Improving Quality As Part Of 100 Days Agenda


(MENAFN- Live Mint) "New Delhi: The Union textiles ministry is gearing up to launch a revamped Cotton Technology Mission aimed at improving the quality and output of India's \"white gold\" by adopting best practices that could position India as a prime destination for textile sourcing and foreign investment, two people aware of the matter said mission is designed to reduce dependence on imports for this crucial raw material for fibre, and to increase the incomes of India's more than 6 million cotton farmers, they said read: Centre to set up dedicated test labs in six states for Kasturi Cotton global brand pushScheduled to span five years from 2024, the project's financial allocation and other policy frameworks will be finalized in the first 100 days of the new government, said one of the two people cited above imports 500,000 bales of high-quality cotton, falling short of its required 900,000 bales. However, the government has set an ambitious target to significantly reduce these imports by 2030 through this proposed mission read: India issues quality orders on textiles to take on ChinaThe ministry plans to conduct stakeholder consultations in the coming months. Given that a model code of conduct is in place, the government aims to utilize this period to finalize discussions and prepare a draft policy framework textiles ministry will launch the revamped cotton technology mission in cooperation with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Cotton Association of India and different associations of ginners in the country sent to spokespersons of the textiles ministry and ICAR remained unanswered till press time tech focus
The policy will focus on introducing new technologies to reduce trash content, contamination levels, and enable real-time sample testing proposed mission will focus on increasing cotton production by adopting best agricultural practices, using quality seeds, and implementing a high-density planting scheme.“It will be done through indigenous varieties of cotton seeds,” the second person said.“Two decades ago, when Bt cotton was introduced, farmers were optimistic about its potential for high yield, better market prices, and protection from insect attacks. However, as time passed, the increasing costs of inputs and the occurrence of crop failures have outweighed the perceived benefits of Bt cotton,” said Kalyan Goswami, the director general of Agro Chem Federation of India.“Replacing Bt cotton, which currently covers 95% of the cultivation area, would be a challenging task. One of the major hurdles would be the availability of Kasturi cotton seeds,” said Goswami, who is also a former DG of the National Seed Association.
“India is not yet prepared in that respect.”“Another challenge is the lack of patience, which has led to the premature termination of government initiatives, such as the goal of doubling farm income. Achieving a significant market share in the Indian cotton market with Kasturi cotton would require sustained efforts for at least 10-12 years, aiming to capture 25-30% of the market,\" Goswami added goldIn recent years, India has witnessed a sharp decline in production of 'white gold' as per textile ministry data, annual production of cotton in 2017-18 was 37 million bales (170 kg each) that was reduced to 33 million bales next year. After a significant growth in 2019-20 (36 million bales), it reduced to 35 million bales in 2020-21 and 31 million in 2021-22. Total production of cotton in 2022-23 was 34.7 million bales, it is estimated that production may shrink at 31.6 million bales in 2023-24 read: Centre to set up labs for testing marquee textiles meant for exportsThe ministry is also focusing on increasing footprints in technical textiles, which is a growing market. Currently, India is exporting technical textiles, including medical apparels, to the tune of $2.5 billion and set a growth target of $10 billion in the next 5 years's textile exports declined to $34.40 billion in FY24 due to geopolitical tensions and apparel exports, which were under stress for more than a year, grew 6.91 % year-on year in March.

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