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Coimbatore: Citing shortage of cotton stock in the country, Southern India Mills’ Association (Sima) on Monday urged the Union government to allow duty-free import of 40 lakh bales of cotton.
Speaking to reporters here, Sima chairman Ravi Sam said the country is likely to face a 30 to 40 lakh bales cotton shortage owing to the substantial increase in demand and export of around 50 lakh bales. “Due to the unprecedented increase in domestic cotton price, from 135/kg to 219/kg in a year, an increase of around 65%, mills are struggling to meet export commitments,” he said.
“The 11% import duty has aggravated the cotton market. As seed cotton price is ruling around 70% higher than the minimum support price, farmers, ginners and traders are hoarding cotton, hoping for further increase in prices. Cotton arrival has drastically reduced to 220 lakh bales in February against 293 lakh bales during the same period last year,” Ravi said. “Out of the 220 lakh bales, 150 lakh bales have been consumed by mills. Thirty lakh bales have been contracted for exporters, 15 to 20 lakh bales are in the pipeline and around 20 lakh bales are with traders and ginners.”
Ravi requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in cotton policies. “The plan to exempt extra long stable (ELS) cotton, which is not produced in the country, from import duty, will not have any impact on farmers.”
Sima secretary general K Selvaraju urged the government to allow duty-free import of 40 lakh bales to avoid production stoppage and job losses.



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