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Web Exclusive | November 2014

Experts from 21 nations debate urgent issues at Cotton India 2014

The 2-day Cotton India 2014 held very recently at The Renaissance Hotel, Mumbai, really “wove the world of cotton together”, as the organisers, Cotton Association of India (CAI) has mentioned in their programme brochure. Over 300 delegates included participation from all over India and 21 countries. One of the highlights of the event was a 6-member cotton team from Afghanistan, seated at the front row, who were given a overwhelming applause. “The last such Conference was held by the CAI in the year 2006 and we are holding this conference after a gap of 8 years... COTTON INDIA is not only going to be a regular yearly feature of our international cotton calendar in future but we also plan to make COTTON INDIA a truly global event,” declared Dhiren Sheth, President of CAI at the onset of the inauguration of the event.

The 2-day event discussed in-depth and threadbare all the issues gripping the cotton world today, and attempted to find solutions to problems. It covered the entire gamut of the various aspects of the cotton industry, right from cotton planting up to the cotton role in fashion & garments. Cotton production and stock are piling up; prices are falling; China’s policies play some havoc at times on the export of other major producers; India is emerging as No. 1 in cotton; a few countries have achieved high cotton output per hectare while India is still struggling at 550 kg – the presentations and discussions left no stones unturned while debating on the issues of the white gold.

There was truly a galaxy of speakers including Ray Butler, MD of Cotton Outlook; Terry P Townsend of Cotton Analytics; BK Mishra, MD of Cotton Corporation of India; Jose Sette, Executive Director, International Cotton Advisory Committee; Dr KR Kranthi, ICAC Researcher of the Year 2009; Mitesh Shah, General Manager of Louis Dreyfus India Commodities Pvt Ltd; Sanjay K Verma, President (Sales) Birla Cellulose and Murugan Thenkondar, General Manager—Sales of Lenzing.

A new logo of CAI was unveiled by KF Jhunjhunwala, former President of CAL with all fanfare. “Suvin Ratna”, a new hybrid cotton was launched by Dr V Santhanam, former project cordinator and head, Suvin Breeding Team of Indian Council of Agricultural Research. The second edition of “The Saga of Cotton Exchange” penned by Madhoo Pavaskar was also released at the event.

Said Sheth: “The acreage under cotton in India, which was 8.73 million hectares in 2001-02, has increased to 12.65 million hectares during 2014-15 and India now has a share of 37 per cent of the world’s total cotton acreage. Cotton production in the country, which was 15.80 million bales in 2001-02 has more than doubled and is estimated at 40.55 million bales of 170 kg during 2014-15. The value of cotton now being produced in the country every year is 16.50 billion dollars in seed cotton form. Similarly, consumption of cotton in India has also witnessed a healthy growth and is estimated at 30.60 million bales during 2014-15. India has exported 11.79 million bales in the year 2013-14 and the approximate value of cotton now being exported from India every year is over $3.30 billion dollars.”

“With a massive acreage of over 12.65 million hectares, India requires a huge infrastructure to process the increased crop size of over 40.00 million bales. Cotton is grown in India across 10 states under diverse agro-climatic zones. The modernisation of ginning and pressing factories, which was the key factor to improving the standard of processing cotton in India to a large extent, was undertaken by the government under the Technology Mission on Cotton several years back and needs immediate follow up in mission mode to cope up with the increased crop size,” CAI chief said.

The productivity level, which witnessed a marked improvement over a decade thanks mainly to the adoption of GM technology and encouraging Government policies, is now saturate
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