Govt asks CCI to step up cotton procurement

The government has asked Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to increase purchase of cotton at minimum support price (MSP) by opening new procurement centres in the four cotton growing states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, in order to protect the interest of farmers.

Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh directed the CCI to ensure procurement of cotton at MSP at a review meeting held at the Krishi Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday.

CCI has been asked to widely disseminate details on the rate and standards for procurement of cotton under MSP operation among the cotton growers besides opening adequate number of centers in all the cotton growing states for ensuring that the cotton produced by the farmers are purchased and value thereof, as per the rate fixed are paid in time, preferably through their bank accounts.

The centre has asked CCI to seek active support of the state governments and state agencies for undertaking procurement operation and safeguarding the interest of farmers.

Singh also suggested that surprise checks by senior officers be conducted and senior officers stay for a longer period in the field so that farmers' interests are safeguarded fully and they do not take recourse to distress sale of cotton. Singh further directed CCI that members of Parliament 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.

The meeting was attended by minister of state for textiles (independent charge) Santosh Kumar Gangwar, minister of labour and employment (independent charge) Bandaru Dattatreya, minister of state for commerce and industry (independent charge) Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of state for agriculture Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariay and minister of state for agriculture and food processing Sanjeev Kumar Balyan.