Farmers urge Anand Sharma to lift restriction on raw cotton
Farmers have urged new Textile Minister Anand Sharma to lift all quantitative restrictions on raw cotton and provide export incentives to farmers, so that their economic interest is protected as done by the US govtIT WAS imposing of quantitative restrictions in 2004 for free cotton import by the NDA government, which allowed dumping of cheapest 20 million cotton bales, resulting in economic recession and start of cotton farmers’ suicide spiral in Vidarbha. It was once again re-imposed in 2009 when present UPA government. introduced stringent cotton export measures. The purpose of such measures was to protect the interest of the handful of textile mill owners, who wanted cheaper raw cotton despite knowing that it was an unfair trade practice and would come at the cost of 1 billion dying cotton farmers.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti informed today that the Vidarbha cotton farmers, who suffered major losses and reported more than 10,000 farmers suicides after wrong policies of cotton export and import, have written to new Textile Minister Anand Sharma to lift all quantitative restrictions on raw cotton and provide export incentives to farmers, so that their economic interest is protected as done by the US government.
“India has reported more than 2 lakhs 34 thousands farmers suicides in the last decade, the largest genocide in the history of mankind, and 90% of farmers who killed themselves are mainly cotton growers. Wrong govt. policies related to export and credit and faulty cultivation pattern and input are the main causes of despair and distress which is killing the innocent farming community in India. This is a blot on the face of mankind, and the fact that a country like America is mainly responsible for the farm genocide,” Tiwari said.
The letter written by Vidarbha cotton farmers’ advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) has urged new Textile Minister Anand Sharma to examine the fact that there is a surplus stock of at least 50 lakh bales and that his ministry has given it’s node to agriculture and commerce ministry’s demand for additional 50 lakhs bales in order to protect the financial interest of Indian cotton farmers. This is part of textile ministry’s effort to get cotton export curtailed so that it can exploit the situation. It’s unfortunate that the textile minister is involved in this textile cartel that has ruined around one billion cotton farmers to tune of Rs.20,000 crore. The losses are likely to be more if Indian govt. continues with anti-farmer policies.
“Indian textile lobby initially managed to convince textile minister to restrict cotton bales export to 55 lakhs bales from last year’s 84 lakh bales though the country’s cotton production is higher by another 25 lakh bales. Now surprisingly as per Quota Policy of Cotton items has added Cotton Waste (Comber Noil) H. S. Code No. 5202 as Cotton Waste is a ‘By-product’ of Cotton Yarn,” Tiwari added.
“New Textile Minister Anand Sharma should admit that cotton production has grown from a low of 225 lakh bales to 330 lakh bales in last 5 years... and when Indian cotton after lot of hard work and promotion by exporters has found a very stable and regular market in foreign countries, the govt. should ensure that the markets created are not lost to competition due to its faulty policies to protect handful textile mill owners,” he further said.
“We need the urgent central intervention and demand that all export restriction on cotton bales and yarn be lifted so that farmers get higher price for cotton,” Tiwari concluded.