Cotton Conclave 2018, driving for solutions to Agri & Textile Industries burning problems,organized by COTTONGURU ® with IMC on 13th March, 2018 at Indian Merchant Chambers (IMC), Churchgate, Mumbai. It was and sponsored by MCX and supported by Kotak Commodities, Organica Biotech and V-Trans Logistics.

Following eminent dignitaries were present and proposed their views and possible solutions to face the challenges on the problems faced by farmers and the industries.
* Atulbhai Ganatra, President, CAI; * Arvind Sinha, Immediate Past President, TAI; * Smt. Ali Rani, CMD, CCI; * Amrut Deshmukh, Farmer; * G. Chandrashekar, Director, IMC ERTF; * Dr. Kavita Gupta, Textile Commissioner of India; * Pasha bhai Patel, MLC, Chairman, State Commission for Agriculture; * Suresh Kotak, Kotak Commodity; * Sanjay Jain, President, CITI and other representatives from Agriculture and Textile Industry.

There was live discussion, deliberation and decision on the solutions to the problems and the challenges being faced by Agri and Textile Industries. At the end of the conclave, a ‘White Paper’ incorporating most common & valid suggestions received from all the stake holders & policy makers, was drafted-printed-subimmited to the present govt. officials. It was agreed by all delegates that this ‘White Paper’ is to be displayed on the website on all cotton & trade association, so that it becomes a road map for all stake holder & policy makers for further action.

Cotton Conclave 2018 honored the farmers for their efforts in producing highest cotton yield per hector in their farm.They were honored with Memento and the Certificates.

The Challenge:

Although India is the largest producer of cotton (nearly 25% of world share) and the second largest consumer and exporter of cotton, Indian cotton market faces the 2 main challenges of Low yield and Contamination such that;

  • Many farmers, ginners, exporters and spinners are facing survival issues.
  • Yields in India are lower by about 200-300% compared to those of other competitor cotton producing countries.
  • 70% of Indian cotton farmers spend more than what they earn as lower yields and crop losses due to diseases arising out of long duration crops have put severe limitations on the income of cotton farmers.
  • Indian cotton brand has been heavily eroding due to contamination, adulteration and contract defaults such that Indian cotton is discounted by atleast 5 cents/ lbs (Rs 1000/bale) to competitive origins like US, W.Africa, Australia, etc. leading to an annual loss of nearly USD 1 billion to the Indian cotton industry, drastically restricting the income of cotton farmers and profits of textile industry.

Unless all the stake holders and policy makers make a consolidated effort with holistic long term approach, growth of cotton textile industry and farmers’ incomes are at a great risk.

Practical & Sustainable Solutions and ways to meet the challenges:
Cotton Conclave 2018, has made a humble attempt at bringing All the stake holders (farmers, seed companies, fertilizer companies, ginners, traders, exporters, spinners, brands, research scientists, investors, etc.) and the policy makers (State and Central Govt.) on a Round Table.

The solutions that have been endorsed by the by the Amrut Manthan (heavy discussion, debate and decision) of All of the above, are mentioned below:

Issue No.1): Doubling farmers’ income:
1. Agriculture by Design: Agriculture of all crops(food, fuel, cotton) must be by design rather than by default.The Textile industry must give an advance layout of its annual cotton requirement so that the farmers can plan their crop.

2. White Revolution 2.0: Yield depends mainly on 3 things: Seeds, Soil and Weather.
Seeds:
(1) Urgently introduce limited varieties of certified seeds suitable to Indian agro climatic conditions.
(2)Short term duration (150 days) of BT variety seeds instead of hybrids/long term (180 days), especially in rainfed areas.
(3)Seeds with higher percentage of ginning out-turn(atleast 40 instead of current 34).
(4) Seed distribution through CCI so as to ensure authenticity and availability for the farmers.
(5) Rating of Seed companies by professional audit and farmers’ feedback. Incentives for R& D must be given based on above ratings.
(6)Incentives to develop seed matching the requirements of Indian textile industry in terms of cotton quantity and quality (staple length, strength, etc.).

  • Soil:
    (1) Remedial action on soil health card reports.
    (2) Farmers counseling for crop rotation and using organic manure to enhance soil fertility.
  • Weather:
    (1)Timely weather forecast reaching remotest places in India.
    (2)Increase direct Subsidies on drip Irrigation.
    (3)Water conservation – Deepening Rivers and recharging of tube wells by rain water harvesting for multiple crops/year.

3. Introduce TMC-2: TMC must be reintroduced involving cotton farming in it to improve the quality of Indian cotton with less contamination and trash.

4. Technology: 

  • Promote use of mechanized cotton planter and harvester since hand picking costs about 25% of the total expense.
  • Provide subsidized power sources using renewable means like solar and wind to ensure uninterrupted supply for farming.

5. Public Private Partnership (PPP): Encouraging consolidated contract farming with Government as the facilitator and regulator. Encourage farmer support as CSR activity.

6. Marketing Linkages: Building marketing linkages between producers, processors and consumers by engaging private companies so as to generate better remuneration to farmers, ginners and spinners.

7. Revamp APMC: Utilise full potential of APMCs as

  • Centres of excellence with testing facilities for soil health, cotton fibre analysis, ginning out-turn and oil content in seed.
  • Farmer training centres.
  • Data collection centres.

8. Promote Farmers Producers Organizations (FPO) for better access to investment, technology, inputs and markets.

9. Crop Insurance and Risk management: The biggest risk to farmer is uncertainty of crop size, quality, cost and price. Effective tools and training must be imparted to mitigate the above risks.

10. Incentives and subsidies on cost effective value addition of cotton/ seeds/ stalks promoting agri-SMEs in villages.

Issue No. 2): Reducing grave disparity in Ginning and spinning
Mission: SWACHH COTTON ABHIYAN

  1. Coloured cement and fertilizer bags so as to eliminate HDPE/PP contamination which is the cause of great pain, cost and loss to the spinners, ginners and ultimately the farmers.
  2. Improve trace ability and transparency in Bale identification system by re-introduction and mandate of Press Mark system in Ginning Factories. Strict regulation or Act must be initiated to control contamination and adulteration.
  3. Updated and timely data management by official declaration of export, import figures of Cotton and value added products.
  4. Better seed management: Improvise seeds to get a better Ginning out-turn.Promote export of seed and seed cake for better realisation to the ginners. Incentivise industries striving for value addition of cotton by-products like cotton linter, biomass, packaging material, cellulose extraction, etc.
  5. Mandatorily increase the percentage of pre-shipment testing toatleast 5% from the currently dismal 2%, targeting 100% in the next few years.US cotton gets apremium of at least 5 USC/lbs.
  6. Promote Branding of Cotton as ‘Made in India’ to generate better value for the producers, processors and consumers.

Conclusion:
Indian cotton has made remarkable advancement during 2003 and 2009 but the yield has stagnatedand quality has deteriorated in the last few years. India is losing more than 1 billion US dollars in value term sagainst the least contaminated growths.This is the main reason for decrease in the farmers’ income and disparity amongst cotton ginners and spinners, mainly SMEs.

It is high time we discover and utilise the true potential of cotton and value added products such that we identify and enhance their derived demand.
Indian cotton textile industry has the potential to scale new heights and we can achieve both the targets of Doubling Farmers’ income and Textile turnover of USD 300 billion in the next few years by initiating the 2 missions of;

  1. White Revolution 2.0: To address
    Quantity: Planned production with Increasedyield levels,
    Quality:Industry specific quality with reduced contamination levels,
    Cost: Minimise the cost of production and processing by use of cost-effective technology,
  2. Swachh Cotton Abhiyan:
    Increase value of cotton and value added products with more transparency, traceability and integrity adopting bale identification system, mandatory Press Mark and atleast 5% testing of pre-shipped cotton. It will benefit not only Ginners and farmers but also the entire cotton Value chain of Indian Cotton Textile industry.

Indian farmers & processors can generate a premium of over 5% if these solutions are implemented with immediate effect.

Addendum:
Issue No.1) Doubling farmers’ income:
1. Agriculture by Design: Agriculture of all crops(food, fuel, cotton) must be by design rather than by default. It is a normal farmer’s tendency to grow what has been sold better in the previous year which leads to supply surplus and losses. The Textile industry must give an advance layout of its annual cotton requirement in terms of quantity, quality and geographical preferences so that the farmers can plan their crop.

  • There is an urgent need to improve cotton seed technology such that we initiate a White Revolution 2.0. Limited varieties of best quality short duration certified seeds suitable to Indian agro climatic conditions with higher percentage of ginning out-turn (at least 40 instead of current 34) and must be distributed through CCI so as to ensure authenticity and availability for the farmers. Rating of Seed companies by professional audit and farmers’ feedback. Incentives for R& D must be given based on above ratings. Seed companies may also be incentivised to develop seeds that match the requirements of Indian textile industry in terms of cotton quantity and quality (staple length, strength, etc.).
  • Soil: oil health card reports of various agriculture zones must be studied by experts thereby providing simplified and cost effective remedial solutions which must be implemented urgently.Farmers must be counseled for crop rotation and use of organic manure so as to enhance the fertility of the soil.Govt. must provide basic elements which supplement the farmer’s traditional lifestyle along with his surrounding ecosystem. One of them can be providing cattle in order to produce organic manure and generate a second source of income.
  • Weather: Climate change is one of the major causes of lossto the farmers across the world. This can be partially combated by-

Timely weather forecast reaching remotest places in India.
Increase Subsidies on drip Irrigation with uninterrupted and subsidized power for effective usage.
Water conservation – Deepening Rivers and recharging of tube wells by rain water harvesting. This will help the farmers take 2-3 crops a year thereby enhancing his income.

2. Introduce TMC-2: TMC must be reintroduced involving cotton farming in it. This will be helpful to improve the quality of Indian cotton with less contamination and trash.Cotton farming is an integral part of the cotton textile supply and it must be accepted as such. It must be included in the Textile Ministry as

1) Indian Textile industry is predominantly dependent on cotton. Any change in crop or quality has a very significant effect on the Textile industry.
2) Unlike Polyester (which is a very small portion of all petroleum products), 100% of lint cotton is converted into yarn and fabric. So, the farmer is equally dependent on the Textile industry.

3. Technology:

  • Promote use of mechanized cotton planter and harvester since hand picking costs about 25% of the total expense.
  • Provide subsidized power sources using renewable means like solar and wind to ensure uninterrupted supply for farming.
  • Encourage shared logistics within a village or region to cut down fixed costs and ensure better access to market place.
  • Increase the use of technical textiles in cotton farming so as to control disease spread, ensure better monitoring and increase crop yield.
  • Promote precision agriculture with user friendly GPS technology.
  • Providing pathways (mobile applications, helpline numbers etc.) to ensure that weather forecast reaches smallest of the farmers on a real-time basis.

7. Revamp APMC for maximum utility:

  • Convert all the APMCs to centres of excellence with testing facilities for soil health, cotton fibre analysis, ginning out-turn and oil content in seed. This will ensure price appreciation for better quality of cotton and seeds.
  • Farmer training centres must be started in all big APMCs with an adequate Govt. budget for farmer training, nominating an audit agency for periodic monitoring of such programs to ensure good agricultural practices, seed identification and effective disease management.
  • APMCs can be utilized to collect real time data about sowing, kapas arrivals and expected crop. Such data can be stored and analysed in a centralized system and available to the Textile industry and the Government at all times.

At the end of Cotton conclave 2018 the A White Paper of the conclave was prepared and handed over to Mr. Pashabhai Patel, MLC, Chairman, State Commission for Agriculture to take the suitable action in the matter.

This White Paper aims at exploring economics of Cotton and find quick-fix, calibrated and sustainable solutions to the burning issues of cotton supply value chain with the consent of All stake-holders (farmers to brands) and policy makers (Govt. officials).

More than 100 delegates attended this conclave.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Manish Daga
Managing Director
COTTONGURU®
Director, Cotton Association of India
210/211/227, Runwal Commercial Complex,
L.B.S. Marg, Mulund (W),
Mumbai – 400 080
E-mail: manish@cottonguru.org, info@cottonguru.org