SIMA launches contract farming for ELS cotton

The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) has launched a contract farming project in Tamil Nadu for Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton cultivation.

A press release from SIMA Cotton Development and Research Association (SIMA CDRA) chairman R. Ravichandran on Wednesday said Precot Limited, Coimbatore, signed an MoU with SIMA CDRA for ELS organic cotton cultivation, by supplying all the inputs free of cost to farmers and with a guarantee to procure cotton at market price.

Mr. Ravichandran said the pilot project would be on 500 acres at Semmandipatti village in Namakkal district. The organic ELS cotton would have a staple length of over 33 mm and be suitable to produce organic yarn of counts up to 80s. The crop duration would be around 160 days and the expected productivity was 10 quintals an acre.

Though India is the largest producer of cotton in the world, it faces acute shortage of ELS cotton as the BT technology that was introduced during 2003, provided the technology only for long staple cotton. The country consumes around 20 lakh bales of ELS cotton while it produces only four lakh to five lakh bales a year. Nearly 15 lakh bales of ELS cotton is imported every year.

The Central government has encouraged promotion of ELS cotton cultivation and is expected to announce a scheme shortly. The Government is also encouraging the production of organic cotton not only to protect the soil health and environment, but also to meet the growing demand of domestic and international markets.

The SIMA CDRA recently submitted to the government a proposal for the development of ELS cotton, organic cotton and naturally coloured cotton.

About 250 farmers attended a function on Wednesday to launch the pilot project, the release said.

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