Centre should revise cotton exports policy:Pawar

Anand (Guj): Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said the central government needed to change its export policy regarding cotton. Pawar said he had made a representation on the issue at the highest level and was expecting a positive outcome in eight to 10 days. The Centre had recently banned cotton exports but revoked it following an uproar from farmers.

"I have got reports that nearly 30 per cent of total cotton production this year was lying around in Gujarat, Vidarbha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. I do not see any demand from the textile industry in these states," Pawar said.

"This cotton is lying with farmers, ginners, and some with traders. Of this, if 15-20 per cent can be used in the country, there is a ten per cent surplus which can be exported. Cotton production this year was 35 million bales against 33 million bales last year. The central government`s policy on cotton export ban gives negative signals to other countries about our exporters. This policy gives a signal to other countries that Indian suppliers are not reliable. I do not want this situation to persist," Pawar said.

"In 2004-05, the country was not self-sufficient in cotton and even then there was no ban on export. Today, when we are self-sufficient in cotton, putting a ban on exports is not right," Pawar said. The NCP chief said he had made a representation to the appropriate authority and expected a positive outcome.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting with Pawar earlier, objected to Cotton Corporation of India`s "complacency" in cotton procurement in Gujarat, and urged him to direct the authority to start buying cotton at minimum support price (MSP) in the state.