Coimbatore-based leading trade body, The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), has launched Extra Long Staple (ELS) organic cotton contract farming pilot project in Tamil Nadu.
Leading textile company Precot Limited, Coimbatore and SIMA Cotton Development & Research Association (SIMA CD & RA) sign a MoU for the production of ELS organic cotton cultivation by supplying all the inputs at free of cost to the farmers and also guaranteeing to procure cotton at market price.
R. Ravichandran, Chairman, SIMA CD & RA, said that the MoU has been signed for the production of ELS organic cotton on a pilot basis in an area of 500 acres at Semmandipatti Village, Namakkal District.
The organic ELS cotton will have staple length of over 33 mm and would be suitable to produce organic yarn of counts up to 80s. The crop duration is around 160 days and is expected to give the productivity of 10 quintals per acre.
It is pertinent to mention that India has become the largest producer of cotton in the world; the country faces acute shortage of ELS cotton as the BT technology,which was introduced during 2003, provided the technology only for long staple cotton.
India consumes around 20 lakh bales (bale is equal to 170 kg) of ELS cotton, while it produces only 4 to 5 lakhs bales in a year and imports around 15 lakh bales of such cotton. The Government has been encouraging promotion of ELS cotton and is in the process of announcing a scheme shortly.
The Government has also been 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.
Organic cotton textiles and clothing products command good premium in the market.
Established in the year 1974, SIMA CD & RA has been producing genetically pure cotton seeds to the tune of 600 metric tonnes per year and supplying to the farmers.
SIMA is maintaining around 700 Gemplasm of precious Indian cotton varieties and recently it submitted proposal for the development of ELS cotton, organic cotton and naturally coloured cotton to the Government.