The cotton belt of Vidarbha—notorious for farmers’ suicides--might soon go the western Maharashtra way, where the cooperative sugar industry experiment changed the face of the region.
The state government has planned state-run cotton cooperatives in the region.
Textile parks will be set up near the farms so that farmers are included in all the processes right from purchasing raw cotton, ginning and marketing the final product.
Farmers will be made members of the cotton cooperatives, spinning mills and power looms with an assured price for their produce and a share in profits.
The state’s textile department new textile policy--a master plan with a 90-day deadline--will include textile parks to boost the morale of farmers in the suicide belt. The benefits will also be extended to weavers and farmers who are into sericulture [rearing silk worms].
“An estimated Rs 100 crore will be spent on each park which will be a huge umbrella of activities right from cotton growing to producing cloth,” said Textile Minister Naseem Khan.
The department initially plans to float eight technology parks in different districts--six in Vidarbha and two in Marathwada--each spread over four to five acres with updated infrastructure.
The department will try to set up the first park in one of the districts of Vidarbha.
“The parks will be set up through 100 per cent private sector contribution or partly government and partly private. But whatever the model is, we will see to it that the policy includes farmer participation and benefits at every stage,” said Textiles Secretary Vijay Satbir Singh.
Singh said the government is trying to work out special incentives with the electricity board to ensure continuous power supply.
“We will try to get an extra feeder,” he said.