• The government has started a pilot project in 10 states involving 15,000 farmers to increase production of the best-quality cotton by adopting global agricultural practices.
  • The project, which has been launched by the textile ministry in coordination with the agriculture ministry, comes amid a slump in cotton production.
  • The 10 cotton growing states where the pilot is going on are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • As of now, the government has procured around 250,000 bales (170 kg each) after the cotton season started in October.
  • Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana are the major cotton producing states which produce about 65% of cotton production in the country.
  • During the current cotton season 2022-23, export of cotton is expected to be 40 lakh bales. However, the same may increase or decrease depending on the availability of surplus cotton in the country, overseas demand and price parity.
  • Cotton is one of the most important commercial crops cultivated in India and accounts for around 25% of the total global cotton production.
  • It plays a major role in sustaining the livelihood of an estimated 6 million cotton farmers and 40-50 million people engaged in related activities such as cotton processing & trade.
  • The Indian Textile Industry consumes a diverse range of fibres and yarns and the ratio of use of cotton to non – cotton fibres in India is around 60:40 whereas it is 30:70 in the rest of the world.
  • Apart from being the provider of a basic necessity of life i.e. clothing which is next only to food, cotton is also one of the largest contributors to India’s net foreign exchange by way of exports in the form of raw cotton, intermediate products such as yarn and fabrics to ultimate finished products in the form of garments, made ups and knitwear. Due to its economic importance in India, it is also termed as “White-Gold”.
  • India got 1st place in the world in cotton acreage with 120.69 Lakh Hectares area under cotton cultivation i.e. around 36% of world area of 333 Lakh Hectares. Around 67% of India’s cotton is grown in rain-fed areas and 33% in irrigated areas. In terms of productivity, India is on 38th rank with a yield of 510 kg/ha. Area, Production and yield of cotton for the last 5 years is at Annexure-I.
  • India is the country to grow all four species of cultivated cotton G.arboreum and Herbaceum (Asian cotton), G.barbadense (Egyptian cotton) and G.hirsutum (American Upland cotton). G.hirsutum represents 94% of the hybrid cotton production in India and all the current Bt cotton hybrids are G.hirsutum.

In India, majority of the cotton production comes from ten major cotton growing states, which are grouped into three diverse Agro-ecological zones, as under:-

  • Northern Zone – Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan
  • Central Zone – Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh
  • Southern Zone – Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

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