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Uzbekistan to machine-harvest 90% of cotton by 2016: PM
Oct '13
Up to 90 percent of cotton grown in Uzbekistan would be machine-harvested by 2016 as the Tashkent Tractor Plant is set to manufacture cotton-picker machines, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev has said, RIA Novosti reported.
In Uzbekistan there was only one cotton-picking machinery manufacturing plant, which was shut down in 2008.
Although Uzbekistan ranks among the world’s top-five largest exporters of cotton, most of the cotton is hand-picked, raising questions about the working standards of harvesters in the Central Asian country.
Prime Minister Mirziyayev said the Tashkent Tractor Plant would manufacture a new type of cotton picker machine, and 3,000 units would be rolled out next year.
He said the new cotton picker machine would meet the demands of farmers in terms of price, maintenance and service.
As a result, about 80-90 percent of cotton in the country would be machine-harvested, instead of hand-picked, by 2016, he added.
In recent years, several international labour rights groups have criticized the Uzbekistan Government for alleged practice of sending state employees for picking cotton during the harvest period.
Last year, the Uzbekistan Government issued a decree banning children from picking cotton from fields.
Uzbekistan is expecting production of 1.1 million tons of processed cotton this year, nearly the same quantity it produced last year, according to the Uzbek Cotton Industry Association (Uzkhlopkoprom Association).
Raw cotton harvest is also expected to remain at last year’s level of 3.35 million tons, which was 4.5 percent lower compared to the 2011 harvest.
Nearly 95 percent of Uzbek cotton is of medium variety with a fibre length of 32 to 33 millimetres, and the rest being the long fibre variety with length between 36 to 39 millimetres.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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