India will soon occupy the number two position in world cotton production, next only to China.

G. Chandrashekhar

Hubli (Karnataka), June 26

STEPS initiated by Technology Mission on Cotton (TMC) and efforts of voluntary organisations have started bearing fruit and India is poised to reach production of 250 lakh bales of cotton shortly, according to Mr Kishorilal F. Jhunjhunwala, President of East India Cotton Association (EICA).

Delivering the keynote address at the All-India Cotton Trade Conference here, he expressed optimism that with sustained increase in productivity, India will soon occupy the number two position in world cotton production, next only to China.

From about 300 kg per hectare three years ago, cotton lint productivity has gone up to 450 kg/ha currently.

World average is, however, much higher at 740 kg/ha.

Highlighting the urgent need to upgrade quality of domestic extra-long staple (ELS) cotton which are currently being imported by mills, Mr Jhunjhunwala urged seed producers and scientists to improve varieties such as Suvin and DCH and also introduce other ELS cottons that are in great demand in the country.

Scientific farm management practices, development of infrastructure facilities and price risk management are the thrust areas for stakeholders in the cotton sector which would help take on international competition, he pointed out.

Other speakers representing local interests referred to the shortage of quality seed in Karnataka and urged the Government to address the issue urgently.

The meeting - held in Hubli, an important cotton growing region, for the first time - was organised by the EICA jointly with the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Karnataka Cotton Association.

Mr Prahlad Joshi, Member of Parliament, and Mr Shankaranna Munavalli, presented awards to progressive farmers, ginning and pressing factory owners as also senior trade members for their outstanding contribution. Cotton crop estimate: For 2004-05, the crop size has been estimated at 240 lakh bales, considerably up from 177 lakh bales of the previous year. With an opening stock of 21 lakh bales and import of 7 lakh bales, total availability is placed at 268 lakh bales.

Mill consumption is higher this year at 160 lakh bales and exports are an estimated 11 lakh bales.

After taking into account consumption by SSI units (17 lakh bales) and non-mill use (13 lakh bales), the closing stock for the year is estimated at a new high of 67 lakh bales.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 27, 2005)
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