Finally, some cheer

Cotton farmers can look forward to better days, though somewhat bela- tedly. A new technology mission with an outlay of about Rs 700 crore for five years is to be launched by the Government of India. The mission aims at improving the productivity of the crop from the existing 265 kg per hectare to 415 kg. The increased productivity will help meet the domestic needs as well as boost textile export. All the major cotton growing states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra will be covered by the mission. According to the Union agricultural secretary, the mission will adopt a multi-pronged strategy involving various organisations concerned with activities ranging from cultivation and marketing of cotton to processing, all of which provide employment to millions of people. The proposal envisages setting up of four mini-missions, one each to concentrate on research, development and extension activities, improving marketing infrastructure and modernisation of ginning and pressing factories.