Geneva: With Mahatma Gandhi being the chosen icon for the first-ever World
Cotton Day, the India Story writ large here at the event to mark the Day that also
saw New Delhi pitching for cotton to be recognised as a global commodity.
“As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of cotton, India supports the
World Cotton Day as an opportunity to recognise the significance of cotton as a
global commodity, and, more importantly, as a source of livelihood for millions of
small and marginal farmers in developing countries,” said Union Minister of Textiles
Smriti Zubin Irani, at the opening session of World Cotton Day here recently.
Irani said that it is fitting that Mahatma Gandhi has been chosen as the icon for the
World Cotton Day and to mark the celebration of the first World Cotton Day, India
will gift a replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s Charkha to the WTO. She also informed
that a live demonstration of the Charkha has been arranged a by Pitta Ramulu, National Award-winning weaver from India.
The Textiles Minister also announced the launch of the second phase of the Cotton
Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for Africa at the Partners Conference in
Geneva. In the five-year-long second phase, the programme will be scaled up in size
and coverage and will be introduced in five additional countries, namely Mali,
Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania. The Cotton TAP programme will now cover 11
African countries including the C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali). India
implemented a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for cotton in 6 African
countries, namely – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda from
2012 to 2018.
The Textiles Minister also informed that cotton farming and the domestic cotton
textile industry continues to be important pillars of India’s economy. As a country of
8 million small and marginal cotton farmers, India is sensitive to the challenges
faced by the cotton sector in developing countries and India has been a proponent for
the elimination of asymmetries and imbalances in the WTO agreements that lead to a
distortion of global cotton markets, the Minister added.