The Indian Society for Cotton Improvement (ISCI) in collaboration with the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) and the Central Institute for Research in Cotton Technology (CIRCOT) organized a three day Asian Cotton Research and Development Network (ACRDN) meeting.
Kavita Gupta, the textile commissioner of India speaking at the valedictory function said that the second technology mission on cotton in the offing all this seems possible as time has come to restore the lost glory of Indian cotton.
India just doesn't need to increase its productivity and improve the quality of the cotton but it also needs to double the income of both cotton farmers and non-farmers associated with the cotton industry by 2022.
The commissioner sees a lot of hope in the young scientists who have excellent ideas and believe in innovation. These scientists should ensure the traceability of cotton, evolve suitable bale tagging process, develop agro-climatic zone specific varieties and develop synergy between all various factors impacting cotton which will give the required momentum to the whole process. Cotton was one commodity which generated a lot of employment from the farmers to the industry.
Stressing on bringing cotton to premier quality Gupta said that India needs to brand its cotton. She expressed her concern over the declining quality of cotton. Contamination and adulteration were two major problems that need to be addressed immediately to bring cotton to international standards and be competitive.
Although India had the highest area (36%) under cotton and was the biggest cotton producer the productivity was almost half (25%) of that of the major cotton growing countries. The average productivity in India was 500-570 kg/lint per ha as compared to world average of 900 plus kg/ha. Australia with highest productivity has an average of about 2619/lint kg /ha. India exports one third of the produce. In Punjab there are farmers who produce 2500kg/ha. Gupta said that Why this can't be replicated elsewhere.
Earlier C D Mayee, former chairman of the national Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) in his valedictory talk stressed on the need for regulations to control the seed, fertilizer and pesticide market. He said cotton in India was victim of democracy. He demanded a board at national level to control the lacunae in the system.
Also the value addition activities should be encouraged. These activities can fetch 30% income to the farmers. There has been a good period for cotton with developments in technologies but despite this there has been a yield stagnation. Hence there is need to educate the farmers and the policymakers equally about changing the cotton production scenario in country. The high density plantation system (HDPS) was a perfect technology that has answer to increasing production. They need to select the best cultivars for HDPS.
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