‘Ambiguous export-import policies of the government harming interests of farmers’

Former Rajya Sabha member and farmers’ leader Yelamanchili Sivaji has given a representation to Union Minister of Textiles Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, pleading with him to bail out cotton farmers through all possible ways.

In a letter to the Union Minister, a copy of which was released to the media, Dr. Sivaji said that the “flip-flop export and import policies” of the government of India were not merely undermining the importers’ faith in India as a dependable supplier, but also harming farmers’ interests.

Wrong timing

The timing of the policies announced by the government was also adversely affecting farmers’ interests, he opined.

A decision on exports was taken long after the farmer markets his produce, he observed.

Giving some suggestions he said that the cost of seed cost should be reduced drastically as it has been increased disproportionately almost to 10 per cent of the total cost of production.

The tussle of Bt. gene should be ended in order to reduce the cost of seed while introducing Bt. gene in varieties by State agricultural universities.

He wanted crop loan to be made interest free and converted into key loan on arrival of produce for storage.

“The CCI should be geared up and should be in the markets continuously. Encourage mechanisation coupled with research and development to suit the local needs and to reduce the drudgery in cotton production,” was his suggestion.

He said that of the total world cotton production of 119 million bales India’s contribution was 33 million bales.

With increased demand and large-scale imports of cotton from China, there was continuous export of raw cotton from India for the last 4 to 5 years.

The imports were also around 10 to 12 lakh bales and expected to touch 20 lakh bales this year.

During the past 6 to 7 years, the productivity was static and on the other hand, increased cost of inputs like seed, wages, fertilizers, chemicals and fuel was pushing the cotton grower to alternative crops.

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