Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said, "India remains committed to building on its longstanding development partnership with Africa, particularly in the field of cotton."
India will cover five more African countries in the second phase of its cotton Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for the region, Smriti Irani said.
India executed a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for cotton in six African countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, from 2012 to 2018.
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).
As one of the world's largest producers and consumers of cotton, India supports the World Cotton Day as an opportunity to understand the importance of cotton as a global commodity, and, most importantly, as a source of livelihood for millions of small and marginal farmers in developing countries, said Irani.
She 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.
The Textiles Minister also informed that cotton farming and the domestic cotton textile industry continue to be key pillars of India's economy.
Irani further said that India is also engaging meaningfully in providing assistance to nourish both the agriculture and textile part of the cotton value chain in Africa through training and capacity-building of farmers, scientists, government officials and industry representatives and through the creation of cotton-related infrastructure.