CITI Organises Kisan Mela at Banswara District in Rajasthan

The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) through its Cotton Development & Research Association (CDRA), organized a farmers meeting recently at village Badi Badwas, Banswara District in Rajasthan. Nearly 4000 farmers participated in the meeting. This was the second such meeting, the first meeting having been held in last October in Bhilwara Distt.

Shri Mahendrajitsingh Malviya, Minister for Panchayat Raj and Tribal Development, Govt of Rajasthan was the Chief Guest at the meeting. Shri. A.B. Joshi, Textile Commissioner of Govt of India, Shri.B.K. Mishra, Chairman –cum- MD of the Cotton Corporation of India and Mrs. Resham Malviya, Zilla Pramukh of Banswara Zilla Parishad were Special Guests. Shri P.D. Patodia, Chairman Standing Committee on Cotton, CITI, Shri Suresh Kotak, Chairman, Indian Society for Cotton Improvement, Mumbai, Shri Amit Ruparelia, Chairman, Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council, Shri R.L.Nolkha, Chairman, Rajasthan Textile Mills Association and Shri R.L.Toshniwal, Chief MD, Banswara Syntex Mills were among those who addressed the meeting. Besides, Dr. Malu, Director (Research), Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Scientist from KVK, Banswara & ARS, Bansawara, officers from Agriculture department also participated in the meeting.

Shri P.D. Patodia in his welcome address said that a unique project known as the Collaborative Project for the Enhancement of Cotton Productivity and Cotton Production is being implemented in three districts of Banswara, Bhilwara, and Rajsamand for past four years. The State Agriculture Department, CITI-CDRA and Bayer Crop Sciences, Mumbai are implementing it.

The project has set an example for stakeholders to join hands and complement the efforts of each other for serving cotton growers. Expressing his concern on non-availability of reliable certified seeds in adequate quantities and prevalence of non–certified seeds in the market coming in the way of improvement in yield, Shri Patodia informed the meeting that the CITI-CDRA has already initiated a dialogue with leading cotton seed producing companies for encouraging seed production at local level. He appealed to the farmers to come forward to take up seed production plots on behalf of seed companies. Since large cotton growing areas in the district is rain dependent and uncertainty of rains affects cotton crop, he pleaded for rain water harvesting and construction of bunds and dams, besides installation of drip irrigation system as was done in Bhilwara & Rajsamand districts on a large scale, so that cotton production could boost. He also informed that CITI-CDRA has submitted an ad-hoc project proposal to the State Government for extending front line demonstration program in the district for the next three years for the benefit of tribal cotton growers. He requested the minister to help CITICDRA in getting that project approved at the State Government level. He particularly emphasized the fact that Banswara district grows extra long staple cottons like DCH 32 for which there is a good demand from the textile mills. He added that with the initiative of Rajasthan Textile Mills Association, CITI- CDRA was planning to extend the collaborative project to Pali, Ajmer, Jodhpur & Nagor districts from the next year. He appealed to the cotton growers of the district to replicate the example of Gujarat, where farmers have transformed the state into the cotton bowl of India.

Dr. Grimming , Head- PMTD, Bayer Crop Science, Mumbai stated that the collaborative cotton project endevours to bring stake holders of the entire cotton value chain on one platform with the objective of improving productivity and quality of cotton. He observed that the project in Southern Rajasthan would benefit farmers in terms of productivity with profitability with transfer of technology.

Shri R.L. Nolkha, Chairman, Rajasthan Textile Mills Association appealed to the farmers to improve the quality of cotton for obtaining better prices. Shri A.B. Joshi, Textile Commissioner stressed the need for water conservation for better production. He also informed that under Technology Mission on Cotton, it was possible to consider proposals for setting up modern ginning and pressing factories in the district. Shri B.K. Mishra assured the farmers that it would be possible for the CCI to set up a Purchase Center in Banswara district, once Agriculture Produce Market Yard and ginning and pressing factory were set up in the district.Shri R.L. Toshniwal urged the minister to set up anorganized Krishi Mandi in Banswara district to check the exploitation of farmers. He announced that if the Mandi is set up, Banswara Syntex would install a modern ginning and pressing factory in Banswara.

Shri Mahendrajitsingh Malviya, Cabinet Minister for Panchayat Raj, Gramin Vikas and Tribal Area Development, in his remarks appreciated the presence of the officers of Government of India and industrialists who came all the way to remote a place like Badi-Badwas for benefitting the tribal farmers. He appealed to the farmers to take advantage of the technical expertise and adopt modern technologies for higher production. He also urged the Textile Commissioner to provide better marketing facilities and installation of ginning factory in this tribal district so that the farmers could get better prices. He announced that the State Government would provide Rs.80 lacs for implementation of Cotton project submitted by the CITI- CDRA for Banswara district out of Tribal Area Development (TAD) funds before the beginning of the next season. He also announced that the state government would provide a subsidy of Rs. 1.5 lac to the farmers for digging and maintaining wells. He assured that he would make efforts to bring Mahi water to rainfed areas of Kushalgarh for which survey would be conducted shortly.

Shri Suresh Kotak, while proposing the vote of thanks appreciated the proactive attitude of the state government in supporting the farmer oriented schemes in the district.