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New Delhi : As part of the Indo-German Development cooperation framework, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has  collaborated with Ministry of Textiles (MoT) supported by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW). An MoU was signed on October 7, 2021, between Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India,  on Implementation Agreement of Indo German Technical Cooperation Project on ‘Sustainability and Value Added  in the Cotton Economy’ here .

The objective of the project is `to increase the value addition from sustainable cotton production in India by focusing on sustainable cotton, and strengthening of downstream processing’. It is focussing on 4 major cotton producing states- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, and will work closely with them and the related agencies, according to a PIB release.

The MoU was signed by  Sanjay Sharan, Joint. Secretary,  on behalf of Ministry of Textiles, and Mohd. -El-Khawab, Programme Coordinator  GIZ India, and Dr Rossitza Krueger, Programme Head, Sustainable Cotton Project, GIZ, in the presence of  Minister of  State for Textiles, Darshna Vikram Jardosh, who presided over the event, and U P Singh  Secretary, Ministry of Textiles.

Speaking on the occasion, Darshna Jardosh said that the  GIZ project is aimed at  increasing volume of cotton production at least on 90,000 hac with participation of 1.50 lakh cotton farmers with yield increase by 10%.  This will enable capacity building of the 1.50 lakh farmers and entrepreneurs of which about 30% will be women beneficiaries.

Jardosh mentioned that India is the largest cotton producer in the world and also the 2nd largest consumer of cotton in the world with estimated consumption of  303 lakh bales (5.15 Million Metric Tones i.e. 20% of world cotton consumption of 1,505 lakh bales (25.59 Million Metric Tones). It plays a major role in sustaining the livelihood of an estimated 6 Million cotton farmers and about 50 Million people engaged in related activity such as cotton processing and trade. She further stated that  the  GIZ project will also help in enhancing employment and women empowerment in training and capacity building on sustainable cotton growing practices by innovation in new cotton processing procedures and ginning etc.

U P  Singh said that October 7  being the ‘World Cotton Day’ is an important day for the Ministry of Textiles.  He said that cotton is important cash crop and the entire edifice of Textile Industry depend on natural fibers like cotton, jute, and wool. He said that development without sustainability has lost value in current scenario.  He informed that focus of project is to work with major global textile companies to create the “pull” factor for improved market access by the farmers for their sustainably grown cotton.

The project follows “From shelf to field” approach with the strategy to link consumers to the cotton growers in India and work along the entire supply chain. The project is also focusing on creation and promotion of transparency about the prevalence and application of internationally recognized/accepted sustainability standards and promoting measures that reduce the water footprint in cotton production.

The Ministry of Textiles ( MoT), as the lead partner on the Indian government side, guides the project on main intervention areas based on its vision for textiles in India, through the establishment and convening of the project Steering Committee for project progress review and guide the project implementation. MoT enables the interface and coordination with the project nodal officers in the 4 states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh. MoT participates in various International Textile Conferences and major GIZ organised events for sharing the Indian experiences and best practices, especially those emerging from this join Indo-German collaboration project.