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India’s Mills Must Import Cotton To Meet Demand

By Shaju Mangalam
Secretary
Confederation of Indian Textile Industry
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India Increases Production

Shaju MangalamCotton – the white gold – is the key raw material for the growing textile industry of India. Our country grows and consumes all types of cotton with varying qualities of short staple, medium staple, long staple and extra-long staple. India has actually witnessed a dramatic turnaround in cotton production during the past decade. In 2000-2001, production was only 14 million bales with an average yield of 244.6 pounds of lint per acre. This year, it is estimated that production will be 32.5 million bales with an average yield of 448.1 pounds of lint per acre. This reflects a yield increase of more than 83 percent
in a decade.

Need For Better Yields

Since cotton is predominately a rain-fed crop, India’s cotton productivity is one of the lowest in the world. This lack of water plays a key role in the country’s ability to produce cotton. Other factors such as poor seed quality, poor replacement rate for varietal seeds, insect pests, fragmented land holdings and ineffective transfer of modern technologies are also major challenges for the country. Thankfully, the introduction of hybrid seeds and promotional efforts from companies have created a better future for increasing cotton yields and quality. We are already seeing the results of these new seeds, which are meeting the required quality and standards.

Low Contamination For Imported Cotton

Until India can dramatically improve yields and quality in the cotton it produces, it must import large quantities of foreign-grown cotton – primarily from the United States, Egypt and Africa. These foreign-grown cottons are uncontaminated, and the trash and microdust levels are extremely low. Studies also show that bale-to-bale and lot-to-lot variability in fiber quality are minimal in imported cottons. For all of these reasons, India’s textile mills continue to receive excellent feedback about the performance of FiberMax and SJV Acala cotton. These cottons meet all of the quality standards from Indian textile mills.

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