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Gandhigram Trust plans cotton procurement in TN
18
Feb '16
The Gandhigram Trust in Tamil Nadu's Dindigul district has drawn up plans to start a cotton procurement and sales centre, a first for the State. The Trust plans to revive 'karunkanni,' an indigenous cotton variety on the verge of extinction.

According to the Trust's blueprint, it will convert cotton into value-added products, including naturally-dyed yarn, and sell it to other khadi units for cloth production. It has roped in traditional farmers in Athoor and Reddiyarchathiram blocks in Dindigul district to raise this variety. Similar efforts are on to revive 23 traditional cotton varieties throughout the country.

The Trust unveiled its plans at a workshop on 'Revival of desi cotton and contemporary khadi' in Gandhigram. Tthe proposed facility would procure the entire produce from farmers and add value to it to end farmers' marketing problem, Gandhigram Trust secretary K. Siva Kumar said. This short staple yarn is ideal for producing dressing gauge and bed sheets.

The natural dye unit would use cotton to make naturally-dyed yarn to tap emerging markets. According to the plans, seeds would be supplied to farmers and the unit would act as a full-fledged model centre for organic cotton and value addition. It would also facilitate formation of a federation of desi cotton producers in the State, Kumar said.

Traditional cotton grower Visvasam of Vellode who attended the workshop said that 500 acres of karunkanni variety had been grown in Reddiyarchatram and Athoor blocks. But the lack of marketing facilities has forced many farmers to shift to other crops. These farmers would be encouraged to grow this variety. Besides Dindigul, karunkanni was grown in Kovilpatti and Vilathikulam only, he said.

Ananthoo of TULA Organic Clothing claimed that while 97 per cent of cotton produced in the country before Independence was of traditional variety, the situation has now reversed with 97 per cent per cent of farmers into 'hybrid cultivation' although production and input costs for traditional varieties were very less when compared to those from Egypt and the US. He said even khadi units were now using foreign cotton.

According to Krishna Prasad of Sahaja Samrudha, a people's movement in Karnataka, 23 traditional varieties of cotton , especially Bengal Desi, Pundur, Kaala cotton, Wagadh, Karunganni, Jayadhar and Pandrapura, were being grown in the country for the past 1,000 years. Efforts were under way to revive these varieties, he said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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