The home-grown variety of Indian cotton seed is replacing the genetically modified or Bt one in the current season, claims the Union textile commissioner.
Developed by the Central Institute for Cotton Research
(CICR), Nagpur, the desi variety has potential for higher yield than Bt cotton
and also on weed and pest resistance, she said. Introduced early this century, Bt cotton
has witnessed intermittant pest attacks; these damaged the crop in a significant way in Punjab and Haryana in 2015-16.
“Also, the desi variety is longer-staple in nature, which might replace some quantity of long-staple cotton. Thus, the desi variety offers better realisation than Bt and other conventional varieties. Consequently, farmers are aggressively adopting the desi variety of cotton seeds,” says Kavita Gupta, the textile commissioner. She was speaking on the sidelines of the second Cotton Advisory Board
(CAB) meeting here on Friday. She gave no figures, however, in this regard.
In 2015-16 and the current season, whitefly attacks have been reported in Punjab and Haryana, in addition to pink bollworm attacks in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Even so, output for the crop year 2017-18 (October to September) is estimated to increase in double digits, due to a sharp increase in sowing. Official data estimates an 18 per cent rise.
in its second Advanced Estimates projected India’s cotton output at 34.5 million bales (a bale is 170 kg) for 2016-17, despite a 11 per cent decline in sowing to 10.84 million hectares. For 2017-18, Gupta estimates the area at 11.9 million ha.
Bangladesh has replaced Pakistan in terms of cotton import from India, with over 40 per cent of market share so far this year. China is likely to remain India’s second largest cotton destination in 2016-17.
Our cotton export is likely to decline this year to six million bales, compared to 6.9 million for 2015-16.