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Vidarbha ginners protest against government decision to brand Cotton


Vidarbha ginners are once again up in arms over the Central Government’s decision to brand Vidarbha Cotton as Kasturi due to stringent quality compliance norms introduced from February this year.

A national workshop on ‘Branding Vidarbha Cotton as Kasturi’ was jointly organised by The Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (Circot), The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL) and Vidarbha Cotton Association at the regional Ginning Training Centre on Amravati Road

ICAR stalwarts, cotton experts and industry players including ginners deliberated over the merits and demerits of the decision.

While the govt is inclined to implement the move with an aim of improving quality and benefiting farmers, ginners are worried about production issues ‘not in their control.’

The ginners are exhibiting similar apprehensions like they did during the implementation of quality control order for cotton bales by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) last year. Following the opposition, the govt had deferred the move till August this year.

As BIS rating would mean legal complications and penalties, things like variations in variety of seed available to farmers, climatic conditions, pest infestation, poor picking practices, poor handling, storage and multiple pickings round the years were on the mind of ginners.

Officials said the govt would help clear their doubts. “Only Indian cotton is not marketed under any particular brand name. Hence, the govt branded it as Kasturi Cotton Bharat to give it a unique identity. There are certain quality norms to be met which the ginners don’t agree to,” they said.

Dilip Thakre, a farmer from Akola who is also cotton expert representing Vidarbha on various committees, said Kasturi entails premium cotton purchase by CCI from ginners. Around 300 ginners from cotton belt will be selected to supply good quality cotton to CCI. The bales would be marketed under Kasturi. Right now, India’s cotton is sold just as bales, he added.

Thakre said Indian bales don’t fetch good rates because of lack of a brand name and apprehensions about mixing substandard cotton. Under Kasturi, ginners will have to supply cotton of first picking. Trash content increases in second and third pickings. Yarn and designer fabric too would be manufactured using the Kasturi brand.

Geo-tagging will be done on each bale, comprising parameters like moisture content, staple length and trash content, he said.



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