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Govt exploring ways to boost cotton exports

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Worried over decline in raw cotton prices, the government has stepped up efforts to find out new markets for the commodity.

The prices are declining because of a plunge in exports to its biggest market, China, which had changed its policy on cotton imports.

"Situation is very grim. India needs to find ways to increase its cotton exports by exploring new markets. Government is seized of the matter and is taking steps to stabilise the situation," an official said.

An industry expert said that India also needs to set up spinning and yarn units domestically and in countries like Vietnam to boost exports of raw cotton and other value-added products.

Recently a team led by Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher visited two cities of Vietnam. The south ease Asian nation is one of the biggest importer of India's cotton and also an important centre on spinning and yarn making. China has huge investments in this sector in Vietnam.

In December, the government had eased cotton and cotton yarn export rules to boost overseas sales as slowing demand from China has hit India's trade in the commodity.

According to the USDA report, India -- the world's second -biggest producer of cotton -- is likely to export 7.69 million bales of the fibre in 2014-15 marketing year (August- July), down by 35 per cent from last year due to sluggish demand from China.

China is the top cotton export market for India, followed by Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Centre had also asked the Cotton Corporation of India to procure cotton from farmers in 11 states as the rates have fallen below the MSP in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.

CCI is the government's nodal agency for procuring cotton at MSP, which is currently Rs 4,050/quintal for long staple. Prices at some places have down below that.

The Cotton Advisory Board has pegged the country's total cotton production at over 40 million bales in the 2014-15 crop year, as against 39.8 million bales in 2013-14. One bale contains 170 kg of cotton.

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First Published: Fri, January 23 2015. 15:50 IST