Threats to King Cotton

King Cotton has reined supreme on the Indian soil since time immemorial. Its fortunes have been rising slowly though many threats have loomed large. Recently, India is poised to emerge as No. 1 producer of cotton in the world.

King Cotton has reined supreme on the Indian soil since time immemorial. Its fortunes have been rising slowly though many threats have loomed large. Recently, India is poised to emerge as No. 1 producer of cotton in the world. The acreage under cotton in India, which was 8.73 million hectares in 2001-02, has increased to 12.65 million hectares during 2014-15 and India now has a share of 37 per cent of the world´s total cotton acreage. Cotton production in the country, which was 15.80 million bales in 2001-02 has more than doubled and is estimated at 40.55 million bales of 170 kg during 2014-15. The value of cotton now being produced in the country every year is $16.50 billion in seed cotton form. Similarly, consumption of cotton in India has also witnessed a healthy growth and is estimated at 30.60 million bales during 2014-15. India has exported 11.79 million bales in the year 2013-14 and the approximate value of cotton now being exported from India every year is over $3.30 billion. But there are many areas that need focused attention. The price pressure which is gripping the market now, may be a temporary phenomenon. But still farmers are reluctant to take up cotton in place of food crops. The modernisation of ginning and pressing factories, which was the key factor to improving the standard of processing cotton in India to a large extent, was undertaken by the government under the Technology Mission on Cotton several years back and needs immediate follow-up in mission. India´s cotton is still one of the most contaminated varieties. The productivity level, which witnessed a marked improvement over a decade thanks mainly to the adoption of GM technology and encouraging Government policies, is now saturated and is still far below the world average. Arresting the declining trend in the consumption of cotton in the world is also another key focus area engaging the attention of the entire cotton value chain. Power of King Cotton is still unchallenged, but in India the King needs more protection & promotion than ever before.

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