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Cotton acreage declines, production will not - CITI
Aug '08
Despite an enormous reduction in cotton acreage of about five lakh hectares in 2008-09, cotton production is not likely to get affected. This is mainly because adoption of genetically modified Bt-cotton seed promises a better yield.

In an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Mr DK Nair, Secretary General of Confederation of Indian Textile Industries (CITI) affirmed, “Nearly 80 percent of farmers have planted Bt-cotton, which is likely to result in substantial rise in cotton production yields thereby, giving an output of 325 lakh bales. The declining acreage is therefore unlikely to have any serious impact on the overall crop output.”

Area under cotton cultivation declined from 90.7 lakh hectares last year to 85.9 lakh hectares as on August 17. On the contrary, acreage under BT cotton plantation continues to rise as more and more farmers have taken to sowing transgenic seed in more than 80 percent of the sowing area as against 65 percent recorded last year. So far, the Government has approved 263 hybrid varieties.

Experts believe that cotton acreage on the whole has come down because of insufficient rainfall in major growing areas like Maharashtra. Besides, floods in various parts of Punjab have also worsened the situation.

Although, the textile industry is expecting a fair yield despite low acreage, it is faced with major challenges like high cotton prices coupled with strong demand for export. Even a slightest slowdown in production is likely to adversely impact the yarn producers and exporters.

It was only in the last season that the country had produced 315 lakh bales of cotton; however, this remarkable achievement was accompanied by a adverse price hike of over 40 percent between January and June.

This can only be taken as a warning which infers that a good harvest must not be the only criteria for the Government, prices also needs to be under control because unless domestic environment is made conducive, industries are unlikely to prosper.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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