Vadodara, Jun 6: With an aim to bring relief to the cotton-growers in the country, Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to lift a ban on the export of cotton.
Patel told this to PTI over phone. He said that he had also written to other Union ministers including, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in this connection.
"Lifting the export ban of cotton is necessary to protect the interests of farmers in Gujarat. But, it will also benefit farmers from other parts of the country, as cotton prices spiralled down by 30 to 40 per cent in the past two months," Patel said.
"Cotton prices came down from Rs 63,000 per candy to Rs 42,000 per candy. As a result, traders, millers, ginners and eventually farmers suffered a severe setback," Patel said.
He added that one third of the total cotton production in the country came from Gujarat, out of which, 50 per cent is exported, which is due to its superior quality, Patel said.
This year, Gujarat produced 104.55 lakh bales of cotton, cultivated on 24.64 lakh hectares of land Patel said.
"If the ban is not lifted, it will ruin Gujarat farmers," he said, adding that with the arrival of monsoon, farmers are left with no other alternative but to sell their crops at low prices, as they do not have a storage mechanism.
With the opening stock of the cotton pegged at 45 lakh bales this year, the total cotton production, estimated by the Cotton Advisory Board is 320 lakh bales.
While, the domestic consumption of cotton is estimated to be 240 lakh bales, its export allotted till February, was 65 lakh bales. It was on February 25 that the Centre banned the export of raw cotton and cotton yarn and the surplus cotton, available is 60 lakh bales.
"The government must allow cotton exports immediately or those holding stocks will have to bear heavy losses. Traders will not be able to pay fair prices to farmers, which could lead to social unrest," Patel added.
He said that he had received representations from various trade bodies in Gujarat as well as from other parts of the country.
Patel expressed hope that a meeting with group of ministers to be held on June 7, is likely to bring out a decision in favour of the farming community. PTI