Chennai, April 17 The cotton producers of Tamil Nadu are on a warpath as the central government has effected exemption for the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess and Basic Customs Duty for the import of cotton.
This will in affect allow import of cotton bales at zero duty until September 30.
While cotton farmers are upset with the decision of the central government, the textile industries of Tiruppur and other parts of Tamil Nadu have got a major relief for which they were actively pursuing for the past few months.
The industry has been facing an acute shortage of raw materials of cotton as the price of cotton was at an all time high and Tiruppur Exporters Association and other similar organisations had petitioned the Union government several times that the industry was losing out to competitors due to the high cotton prices.
The cotton farmers have said that this was a bolt from the blue for them as they were getting Rs 10,000 per quintal and it was almost double the amount which they were getting during earlier days.
Southern Dryland farmers association director, Navaneedhan while speaking to IANS said:
“The prices of cotton lint had increased only due to the fact that the yield has come down drastically because of the heavy and excess rains during last monsoon and an acre of Cotton has yielded only 9 to 10 quintals instead of the 20 quintals we used to get generally.”
He said that the withdrawal of import duty to cotton has led to the crash down of its prices and traders have reduced the prices which is affecting the farmers.
The cotton farmers association leader said that cotton is a seasonal crop and is an expensive plant. He demanded that the Union government fix a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 10,000 per quintal for cotton lint for the farmers to survive in the market.
The textile exporters of Tiruppur are, however, rejoiced at the reduction of import duty and Raja Shanmughan, President of the association while speaking to IANS said: “This is what the government should have done earlier. This will make our industry competitive with Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lankan market and Aour finishing touches and quality are much higher and hence we will get more business. The decision of the government will affect the cotton traders who have hoarded raw cotton and not the farmers. We want the cotton farmers also to grow along with the exporters.”