The government will launch a Rs.50-crore Tamil Nadu Cotton Cultivation Mission to boost the cotton production in the State, said Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam in his budget speech on Thursday.

The Minister said cotton was cultivated on 3.34 lakh acres with a production of four lakh bales. But all the 1,948 spinning mills in the State required 110 lakh bales per year.

Under the mission, at least 3.70 lakh acres will be brought under cotton cultivation in 2014-15 and ultimately the cultivation will be expanded to 6 lakh acres in the next five years.

He said as part of the government’s efforts to improve on-farm productivity and farmer’s income, various sub-projects would be taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) at a cost of Rs. 323 crore.

Moreover, the crop loan target for the co-operatives would be enhanced to an unprecedented level of Rs. 5,000 crore. The allocation for crop insurance was Rs 242.54 crore. Earlier, the DMK and its allies staged a walkout from the House alleging that the time of tabling the budget was changed without consulting them.

SIMA hails it

Special Correspondent from Coimbatore writes:

The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), welcoming the announcement, it would enable the State to be self-sufficient in cotton.

The SIMA chairman, T. Rajkumar, said that textile mills in the State needed over 100 lakh bales a year. However, just five lakh bales of cotton were produced and the mills procured the rest from other States. The mills were paying high freight costs to transport cotton from other States.

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