Cotton production in India

  • IASbaba
  • October 11, 2022
  • 0
Agriculture, Economics
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Context: October 7 is celebrated each year as World Cotton Day. Year 2022 marks the third-anniversary celebration of the international event with the theme Weaving a better future for Cotton.

  • No less than 6 million small-to-medium-sized Indian cotton farmers and farm workers, participate in the global cotton value chain.

Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS):

  • The global textile supply chain is undergoing a paradigm shift as it pursuing environmental and social upgradation to meet the sustainability requirements imposed by global textile and home furnishing retailers.
  • This is being accomplished by using Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), which encapsulate certification schemes, labelling programmes, and private standards.
  • The major VSS that are dominant in the sustainable cotton value chain today include Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Organic Cotton, Fairtrade Cotton, and Cotton Made in Africa.

Dual benefits for India adopting VSS:

  • On the one hand, it will help it remain globally competitive in the cotton supply chain and strengthen its position in the export market, while on the other, it will help meet India’s SDG commitments.
  • The total cotton area under VSS has reached 1.5 million hectares, contributing to 24 percent of the global VSS cotton area.
  • With approximately 0.2 million hectares of area for production, it is the largest producer of organic cotton, accounting for 50 percent of global organic cotton production, and the second-largest producer of ‘Better Cotton’, accounting for 16.5 percent of total Better Cotton production covering an area of 1.5 million hectares.
  • The Thinkstep report 2018 on the Life Cycle Assessment of VSS Cotton conducted in Madhya Pradesh revealed a reduction of 50 percent in climate change impact, 59 percent in blue water consumption, 84 percent in ecotoxicity, and 100 percent eutrophication in organic over conventional cotton.
  • This clearly indicates that VSS cotton growth story in India has already demonstrated its contribution towards the achievement of SDG targets for Zero Hunger (Goal 2), Clean Water and Sanitation (Goal 6), Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12), Life on Land (Goal 15), and Climate Action (Goal 16).
  • VSS cotton delivers real, measurable outcomes according to priority indicators such as changes in the extent of water bodies, improving groundwater withdrawal against availability, and rationalising nitrogen fertiliser as outlined by NITI Aayog which maps India’s SDG goals.

Cotton production in India:

  • India is the largest producer of cotton in the world and the third largest exporter. It is also the largest consumer of cotton in the world.
  • Top Cotton Producing States in India are Gujarat, Maharashtra. Telangana, Andhra Pradesh.
  • India is the country to grow all four species of cultivated cotton G.arboreum and Herbaceum (Asian cotton), G.barbadense (Egyptian cotton) and G. hirsutum (American Upland cotton).
  • hirsutum represents 94% of the hybrid cotton production in India and all the current Bt cotton hybrids are G. hirsutum.
  • Now India’s Cotton would be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ in the world cotton Trade.
  • The pest-resistant Genetically Modified (GM) Bt cotton hybrids have captured the Indian market (covering over 95% of the area under cotton) since their introduction in 2002.
  • These now cover over 95% of the area under cotton, with the seeds produced entirely by the private sector.
  • India is the only country that grows cotton as hybrids and the first to develop hybrid cotton back in 1970.

About Cotton Crop:

  • It is a Kharif Crop that comes from the natural fibres of cotton plants, which are native to tropical and subtropical regions.
  • The top five cotton producing countries are China, India, the United States of America, Brazil and Pakistan, which together account for more than three-quarters of global production.
  • Being renewable and biodegradable, cotton is the most environmentally friendly raw material for the textile industry as compared to its synthetic alternatives.
  • Cotton plants have a large growing period which can extend up to 200 days. Growing cotton starts between December and March. These plants require a relatively high temperature (21-30°C) over a long growing season.
  • The cotton is not a thirsty crop as it is a xerophyte, which can grow in dry, arid environments.

Source:  Observer Research Foundation

Previous Year Question

Q.1) “System of Rice Intensification” of cultivation, in which alternate wetting and drying of rice fields is practiced, results in:          (2022)

  1. Reduced seed requirement
  2. Reduced methane production
  3. Reduced electricity consumption

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Among the following, which one is the least water-efficient crop? (2021)

  1. Sugarcane
  2. Sunflower
  3. Pearl millet
  4. Red gram


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