Cotton is a Kharif crop that is sown from June to July and harvested from October to January. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab are the major cotton producers in India. Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plant. Raw cotton or seed cotton is called Kapas and when the cotton fiber is separated from seed cotton, it is called Lint. Usually, Lint cotton separated from cottonseed is pressed in the form of full pressed bales with a standard weight of 170 kg. The process of separating cotton fibers from cottonseed is called Ginning. Cottonseed is crushed to make cottonseed cake, which is used in livestock feed and cottonseed oil.
India’s textile industry is predominantly cotton based and cotton plays a vital role in our country’s economy. This sector contributes around 5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), 14% to industrial production, and 11% to total export earnings. We are also one of the largest producers as well as exporters of cotton yarn. The textile industry has employed over 51 million people directly and 68 million people indirectly, including unskilled women making it the second-largest employer in the country after agriculture. India to sign MoU with Bangladesh to export 10 lakh bales of cotton annually.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the sowing acreage of Cotton as of July 30, 2021, was 110.73 lakh hectares (LH) down by 8.68% compared to 121.25 LH during the corresponding period. The Gujarat government has also declared the data on the progressive area of Cotton as of July 26, 2021, was 21.77 lakh hectares (LH) up by 1.37% compared to 21.47 LH during the corresponding period. Cotton production for FY 2020-21 was 364.92 lakh bales (lb) compared to FY 2019-20 which was 360.65 lb, up by 1.185. The Government had increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Cotton Medium Staple by 3.83% to Rs. 5,726 per quintal for marketing year (MY) 2021-22 compared to Rs. 5,515 in 2020-21 whereas for Cotton Long Stable had also increased by 3.43% to Rs. 6.025 per quintal for marketing year (MY) 2021-22 compared to Rs. 5,825 per quintal in 2020-21.
USDA’s July report stated that the global production and ending stocks are lowered from last month. Record global trade is boosted, led by robust demand in Pakistan, Vietnam, and Turkey. Today cotton is still one of the most important natural fibers on earth, used by everyone every day. The future of cotton continues to evolve, even with the existing challenges faced.