New Delhi. Union Textiles Minister Smt Smriti Zubin Irani said that India is committed to strengthening its cooperation with Africa, especially in the cotton sector. He announced the second phase of the Cotton Technology Assistance Program (TAP) for Africa. The second phase will be for five years. Coverage of the program will be expanded and will cover five other countries – Mali, Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania.
The number of countries participating in the Cotton Technology Assistance Program (TAP) has increased to 11. These include C-4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali). India operated the Cotton Technology Assistance Program (TAP) from 2012 to 2018. It included six African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda).
Mrs. Irani said that India has provided training for capacity building of African farmers, scientists, government officials and industry representatives. Thus the agricultural and textile dimensions of cotton have also been strengthened. Cotton-related infrastructures have also been constructed.
India is among the world’s largest cotton producing and consuming countries. India supports World Cotton Day. This is an opportunity to identify the importance of cotton. Addressing the inaugural session of World Cotton Day in Geneva today, Mrs. Irani said that cotton is a source of livelihood for millions of small and marginal farmers in developing countries.
Mrs. Irani said that Mahatma Gandhi was chosen as an icon for World Cotton Day. On this occasion, India will provide a replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel to the WTO. India’s national award-winning weaver Pitta Ramulu will showcase her art on charkha.
The Textiles Minister said that cotton cultivation and domestic cotton textile industry are the major pillars of the Indian economy. Eight million small and marginal farmers in the country are associated with cotton cultivation. Mrs. Smriti Zubin Irani expressed her hope that World Cotton Day would help in launching innovative initiatives.