Cotton production for 2012-13 to be around 355 lakh bales: CAI

Cotton production for 2012-13 to be around 355 lakh bales: CAI Mumbai: Cotton production in the season 2012-13 is expected to be around 355 lakh bales, while the consumption is likely to be around 265 lakh bales, according to Cotton Association of India.

"The cotton production this year is expected to be not less than 355 lakh bales while the consumption is likely to be around 265 lakh bales, leaving a sizable surplus," CAI President Dhiren Sheth said at its 90th annual general meeting here.

There was an apprehension at the start of the season 2012-13 that the area under cotton may be lower than in 2011-12, consequent to the late onset of monsoon and unfavourable distribution of subsequent rains in some cotton growing areas.

But though the acreage witnessed a three percent decrease, the crop looks promising due to good rains in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in the later part of the monsoon, Sheth said.

At a time when performance of agriculture sector was not so impressive, cotton has been one of the major success stories of the country.

Cotton production in the country, which was 158 lakh bales in 2001-02, has more than doubled during the last decade. Productivity level has also seen a marked improvement from 308 kgs/ha in 2001-02 to close to 500 kgs/ha in 2011-12. The total acreage has also registered remarkable increase from 87.3 lakh ha in 2001-02 to 121.78 lakh in 2011-12.

This has not only enabled the country to cater to its domestic requirement but also transformed the country from a chronic importer of cotton to a regular exporter. India's total export earning from cotton, which was a meagre 44 crore in 2001-02, stood at a whooping 14,000 crore in the year 2011-12.

The country has the distinction of having the largest acreage under cotton and being the second-largest producer, consumer and exporter of cotton in the whole world.

The growth in production of cotton in India during the last ten years was on account of increase in both acreage and yield, according to CAI.

Given the limitations on expansion of acreage, the main source of long-term growth is improvement in yield. The yield level has plateaued during the last couple of years and our yield is still way below the world average, Sheth said.

In order to sustain the onward momentum in yield, the country needs more revolutions like GM cotton, he added.

PTI