Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in a meeting held in New Delhi asked Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to protect the interest of cotton farmers by ensuring procurement of cotton at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Singh expressed his concern over the reports of sale of cotton in the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh allegedly below MSP. Explaining the cotton scenario in the country, CCI informed that has taken all possible steps to increase the number of procurement centres.
After detailed deliberations, Singh directed CCI to release an advertisement giving details of the present number of procurement centres, their locations extra. He also instructed CCI to increase their manpower including technical personnel so that procurement of cotton may be done effectively. In addition to this, periodic press briefings may be held to give impression to the farmers that CCI avenues for procurement are at their doorsteps.
Singh also suggested that in order to check exploitation of farmers by middleman in connivance with State Government officials, surprise checks by senior officers should be conducted and senior officers should stay for a longer period in the field so that farmer’s interests are safeguarded fully and they don’t take recourse to distress sale of cotton.
Singh further directed CCI that MPs of all the concerned States should be informed through letters about the steps taken by CCI to avoid distress sale of cotton by farmers and the suggestions of MPs to deal with this problems should also be invited. Singh further added that CCI should give wide publicity to the effect that export of cotton is open and they should give details of procurement so far in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It should also be publicised that procurement of cotton is going to take place in Maharashtra and&nb sp;Gujarat in a couple of days.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed the need to establish a direct link between the buyer i.e (Government Procurement Agency) and the farmers. The CCI assured that the concerns raised in the meeting about the percentage of moistures in the cotton during initial procurement, quality losses due to gunny bags and increase in number of procurement centres will be taken care of.