Need to improve cotton production; go for speciality variety, VP says
New Delhi, April 12 (PTI): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday pitched for increasing cotton production and said India will benefit giving more thrust to specialty cotton such as organic cotton and sustainable cotton.
Asserting that India must also improve its planting density which is only at 5000-7000 plants per acre compared to China and USA which grow more than 50,000-1,00,000 plants per acre, he said we must also give impetus to mechanization of cotton harvest. “All these inputs will go a long way in improving our cotton productivity,” he observed.
“Today, there is every need to bring Technology Mission on Cotton 2.0 in an upgraded format. We need to improve our seed technology, increase yield, give thrust for agronomy research, adopt global best practices, produce clean and high-quality cotton and brand it better to improve the farmers’ income and enhance the global competitiveness of the textile industry,” he said.
The vice president made these remarks at the golden jubilee Celebrations of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) – Cotton Development and Research Association (CDRA) here.
“I understand that while we consume around 20 lakh bales of extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, we produce only around 5 lakh bales and import the balance from countries like USA and Egypt. I also understand that the demand for sustainable cotton and organic cotton has been increasing over the years. Going forward, India must cement its place as a world leader in cotton by giving more thrust to specialty cotton like ELS cotton, organic cotton and sustainable cotton. CDRA must work with cotton growers and create awareness on the benefits of growing these varieties of cotton,” he said.
Naidu also expressed concern over that despite being the largest cotton producer (23 per cent) in the world and having the highest area under cotton cultivation (39 per cent of the world area), the yield per hectare in India remained at a low of 460 kg lint per hectare when compared to the world average of 800 kg lint per hectare.
To address this, he called for improving the planting density, taking up mechanisation of cotton harvest and giving a thrust to agronomy research.