Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cotton farmers demand lifting ban on exports- Indo Asian News Service

Cotton farmers demand lifting ban on exports

IANS India Private LimitedBy Indo Asian News Service

Nagpur (Maharashtra), May 1 (IANS) Over 300 cotton farmers went on a day-long hunger strike here Sunday demanding the lifting of the ban on cotton exports, an official said.

Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), which is spearheading the agitation, said that the prices of cotton and pulses (tur dal) have fallen by more than 50 percent in the last month due to what he said 'anti-farmer export-import policies' of the centre.

'The present ban on cotton exports is to protect the textile lobby of south India which is very close to some central ministers like Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran. This is responsible for the crises, including falling prices, gripping cotton farmers in Vidarbha,' Tiwari alleged.

Moreover, he claimed that some bureaucrats were influenced by strong lobbying by the textile mill owners who wanted cheap raw material to increase their profit margins.

Tiwari said that he has written to union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma taking strong objections to his statement that there is no immediate proposal to raise export quota for cotton.

'The prices have plummeted to below Rs.4,500 a quintal during the last fortnight from a high of Rs.7,000. The situation can be salvaged by hiking the export quota to 15 million cotton bales from the existing 5.5 million,' Tiwari told IANS.

He pointed out that the export restrictions are shocking, especially when there is good demand for cotton in the global markets which the country exploit and the farmers can made good their losses of the past one decade.

'Floods have hit cotton crops in China and Pakistan while the crop area was slashed the US. It is a rare chance for the country to export cotton at very good prices. It is a mystery why the quota is not being increased this year when last year 83 million cotton bales (each bale at Rs.170 per kg) were exported,' Tiwari pointed out.

The others who participated in the hunger strike included leading farm activists Kashinath Milmile, Ravindra Demapure, Rajendra Chawardol, Suvidhi Surana, Jagmohan Bojoria,Vijay Kondawar, Mohan Jadhav, Letuji Jughare, Chandrakant Patil, Tukaram Meshram, Mohan Mamiddwar and Moreshwar Watile.

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