INDIA: Cotton output may increase with use of GM cotton seeds

MUMBAI: With the growing use of genetically modified cotton, the cotton  cotton output is likely to notch a record 25 million bales in the crop year to September 2007, industry sources said here on January 15.

The area under cotton cultivation was virtually the same in the last two years at 8.9 million hectares and in the last season, the output was 24.4 million bales.

Further, the Confederation of Indian Textiles Industry (CITI) is expecting to replicate last year's export performance on increased production as of the 8.9 million hectares, about 30 percent of the area was under bacillus thuringiensis or Bt cotton.

The share from India in the  global cotton output is 16 percent despite having 25 percent of the world's total area under cotton cultivation and are traditionally exporters to China and Africa.

The cotton exports stood at  a record 4.7 million bales during the last crop year ended September 2006, while the production is expected to keep on rising over the next couple of years as demand is robust and the use of genetically modified cotton has caught up.

Generally, it is known in market that 15 percent of the cultivated area is under Bt cotton and believes it is actually as high as 30 percent as a lot of use is unaccounted for.

On an average, the domestic cotton consumption in the last crop year was 21.7 million bales and was likely to rise 4-5 percent this year on higher demand from textile mills.

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Added: January 16, 2007 Source: Agencies
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