Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 03, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Eight farmer groups sign up for TN integrated contract cotton scheme
COIMBATORE, June 2
THE State's first contract cotton farming or the integrated cotton cultivation mooted by the Pollachi-based ginning company, Appachi Cotton Company (ACC), was kickstarted on Sunday.
Farmers representing about eight farmer self-help groups from 32 villages in the Kinathukadavu/Pollachi blocks who together have committed to bring over 1,050 acres under cotton this year for the proposed integrated cotton farming (ICC) promoted by ACC formally handed over their list of cotton area and that of cotton farmers at a simple function.
Officials from the Central and State Government departments connected with the cotton textile/agriculture department, representatives from the private seed companies, farm service centres, executives from the United India Insurance, two banks ICICI and Canara Bank which have expressed willingness to participate in the contract cotton farming scheme took part in the proceedings of the farmers meet.
The State Commissioner of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee and Agro-Industries, Mr K. Ganesan, said the Government would actively support ICC as it sought to address the crucial market making mechanism to the cotton growers who traditionally suffered from unremunerative prices.
Unlike the State-supported schemes as minimum support price (MSP) mechanism whose pre-determined price fixation could not altogether remove the cotton farmers' distress, ICC provided opportunity for farmers to get good prices due to open-ended buying mechanism.
Stating that the Tamil Nadu Government favoured the public-private sector participation in agri-production, Mr Ganesan said his department had recommended to the Government to exempt the farmers participating in ICC from market committee cess of 1 per cent of the transaction value levied on the cotton marketed through regulated marketing committees.
Mr S. Surender, UII's Regional Manager, Coimbatore, which offered to cover the ICC programme-backed cotton farmers under crop insurance told the farmers that his company would cover contract cotton farms and the risk would cover on `input' basis for which the insurance firm would charge 3 per cent rate and an additional two per cent would be collected for covering the risk of diseases.
ICC being a pilot project, depending on the profitability of the scheme, the project might be reviewed after two years to explore the possibility of further reducing the rate, he said.
The ACC's model contract cotton farming nick-named by the promoters as the `Appachi formula' which draws its strength from the Central Government-sponsored technology mission on cotton (TMC) appears to have received a further boost from the recent decision on the pattern of financial assistance likely to be conferred under TMC for the co-ordinating agency in providing linkage in cotton cultivation.
The Ministry of Agriculture, which is the nodal agency for operation of the mini-mission-II (transfer of technology/development from lab to farm) of TMC, has now permitted to extend financial assistance for all the components for integrated cotton development programme under TMC.
Mr M.B. Lal, Advisor to TMC, who took part in the Pollachi function said this financial assistance would cover all the components for the ICC programme under the mini-mission II for the year 2002-03.
This assistance could be extended to all agencies taking up the contract farming, if they initiated the scheme with the assistance through the Government agencies.
However, once the Tenth Plan proposals for TMC were approved, these benefits could be extended to agencies through the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), the Central Government cotton body, he added.
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