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Bt cotton use boosts country's cotton output to 8.3% a year

Mar '07
Country's cotton output is set to rise to 8.3 percent annually for next five years due to increased usage of Bt cotton and improved cotton processing, sources said on Thursday.

“We are following the Chinese model to become a net importer of cotton and use that to turn out value-added fabrics,” JN Singh, commissioner, Union textile ministry said at a conference on Bt cotton here on Thursday.

The country hopes to become a net importer of cotton in about a decade, he said.

India is the third largest cotton producer in the world and is set to produce 27 mn bales in the year upto September 2007, he said.
Production of cotton is expected to reach 39 mn bales by 2011-12. Each bale is equivalent to 170 kg of cotton.

Domestic consumption is expected to grow 12.3 percent annually to reach 37.5 mn bales by 2011-12.

“We may exceed this figure due to tremendous retail growth and per capita consumption growth, which would boost cotton consumption,” Singh said.

Cotton consumption in India is expected to reach 23.5 million bales this year upto September 2007.

Singh said yield per hectare has shot up to 500 kg from 340 kg in 2003-'04, mainly due to introduction of Bt cotton.

Bt cotton cultivation which occupies 40 percent of total cotton land now is expected to increase to more than 60 percent in a few years, Chairman of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, C D Mayee, said.

Of the 9.1 million hectares under cotton cultivation in India, Bt cotton is grown on 3.8 million hectares of land, up from 29,000 hectares in 2002, when it was first introduced, he said.

Bt cotton accounts for 65 percent of total cotton produced in India, and Gujarat and Punjab have been on forefront to adopt Bt technology.

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