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Cotton Growing Districts in India

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Biology
Wordcount: 2765 words Published: 15th May 2018

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Important cash crop in India is Cotton. India is second largest producer of cotton after China and grown on twelve million hectares. Currently in India only Insect resistant Bt cotton is grown. Remarkable growth has been seen in production and cultivation of Bt cotton in India. This growth is seen with introduction of Bt cotton that has genes of soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis and therefore it is called as Bt Cotton. Regular cotton plants re attacked by a notorious pest called bollworm and to protect them from these pests Bt cotton plants are cultivated that have genes that will produce proteins that protect cotton plants from attack of pests. The aim of this review is to find solutions to problems faced by people due to Bt cotton and its impacts on environment and human health.

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There has been extensive use of chemical fertilizers, organic manures and bullock labour due to which there are low net returns and therefore we have found an alternative called Bt cotton. Factors that are most important leading to adoption of Bt cotton are very poor quality and quantity of regular cotton plants. Farmers have been benefited by accepting this technology of biotechnology and the various benefits are as follows: Increase in yields, Reduced use of pests, Increased employment, education and standard of living and reduced health risk. An important tool of Indian farmer is Bt cotton that can protect his crop in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner against its most important enemy, the bollworm.


For agriculture economy of India, cotton is an immensely important crop and is recognized as an important commercial cash crop in India. India is the only country in world that cultivates all four Gossypium species which are as follows: G. arboreum (Desi cotton) , G. herbaceum ( Asian cotton) , G. barbadense (Egyptian cotton) and G. hirsutum (American upland cotton) along with Hybrid cottons. In the world there are 50 Gossypium species of which 45 are diploid and remaining 5 are allotetraploid species distributed in arid and semi-arid regions of Indian sub continents. From 45 species of Goppysium only 4 are commercially cultivated and G. hirsutum represents 90% of total production in India and all the current hybrids are at present G. hirsutum. This species gives us superior quality of fibre along with G. barbadense.

Cotton scenario in India

India represents only one third of total cultivated cotton area from 32 million hectares of cotton grown globally. India accounts for 21% of global cotton production and is ranked second after China. The contribution of Cotton in India has increased from 14% in 2002 to 24% in 2011-2012. The production in 1947-48 was 2.3 million bales and 17.6 million bales in 1996-97 and the highest record of 35 million bales was seen in 2011-12 in India. 65% of cotton is needed for textile industries as well as it provides employment and sustenance to 60 million people involved directly or indirectly in production and textile activities. The impact of Cotton production in India has changed livelihood of farmers, economy of country and increase in international trade. In order to successfully cultivate cotton the most important things are climate and soil.

Cotton is cultivated in varied soils, climates and agricultural practices under irrigated and rainfed areas in India. About 65% of cotton is produced in rainfed areas and 35% of cotton is produced in irrigated areas. Three distinct agro-ecological regions where cotton is cultivated is North, Central and South. In Northern India cotton is grown in about a million in hectare in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Largest area under cotton cultivation is seen in Central zone about 65% covering Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. South zone covers 21% of total area in cotton cultivation consisting of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

India is the only country where commercially all four cotton species are grown on commercial scale and covers 8.5-9.0 million hectares. Total cotton area is 50% in which hybrid cotton is cultivated. Both quality and quantity of cotton has improved in India. There has been increase in production from 2.79 million bales in 1947-48 to 17.6 million bales in 1996 and it reached upto 28.0 million bales during 2006-07 which was an all time record. India use to produce short and medium staple cottons during pre-independence but today India produces long, extra long superfine cotton. There was a rapid growth seen in Indian economy and demand of cotton was also increasing.

India ranks first with regard to area in global scenario (about 20% of the world cotton area) and with regards to production, it is ranked second, next to China. The productivity of cotton is 440 kg/ha in India. Since cotton area in India has remained static since 1995 at around 85-89 lakh hectares, production and productivity have shown significant up trends during last decade.

In North zone, cotton is grown under irrigation in alluvial soils, in Central zone cotton is predominantly grown in black soils as rainfed crop. In South zone cotton is grown in vertisols and red soils.


The zone covers the following states Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. The cotton cultivation has been threatened from cotton leaf curl virus (CLCuV) disease, bollworms and water logging stress. There are many efforts taken for cultivation and release of CLCuV disease resistant cotton. The rate of success is limited in the release of hybrids (Om Shankar, HHH 223 and LHH 144) and varieties (H 1117, H1226, RS 810 and RS 875).

In these States, the yield potential of hirsutum and arboreum varieties shows the superiority of arboreum cultivars. However, desi cotton (G. arboreum) area has been eroded over the years and the main reason is that the desi cotton varieties have large coarse and non-spinnable lint. Therefore, there is always a price reduction compared to American cottons (G. hirsutum). But there is a scope of improvement in this zone due to recent release of intra specific hybrids along with Bt cotton hybrids.

In spite of the fact that cotton in North Zone is fully irrigated, the average yield levels are around 400 to 500 kg lint / ha, whereas the potential is around 800 kg lint/ ha under ideal irrigation and management conditions. There are certain areas that are prone to waterlogging and flooding which affect the cultivation of cotton and limitations in yield is also seen due to high salinity areas. A harsh climate with high temperature (40 – 45oC), with a limitation in canal water irrigation is seen in North zone. There is 20% reduction in cotton area in Rajasthan due to shortage supply in irrigation water. Research is done in development of high yielding Desi hybrids with a try to improve the quality of fibre and the area for desi cotton needs to be raised, besides general increase in area under cotton as compared to previous years.


Almost 65% of cotton area is covered under this zone that covers Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra alone covers for nearly 30% of the cotton area. Although there is limitation of irrigation source in Central Zone, ideal temperatures and ample sunshine during growth and maturity periods and the extended moderately cool, rain free dry weather prevailing during October to February are most favoured for obtaining higher yields (1000 to 1500 kg lint per ha). Jamnagar,Rajkot, Junagadh, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bharuch of Gujarat have the highest yield potential for cotton in India, followed by the summer irrigated tracts of Western Maharashtra (Rahuri, Padegaon) and irrigated holdings in Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Nanded and irrigated tracts of Madhya Pradesh (Khargaon, Khandwa and Indore).

  • Maharashtra

Largest cotton growing area in the country is seen in Maharashtra accounting for nearly one third of national cotton area (30 lakh hectares). This is due to vast tract of shallow soils with poor fertility and also the precarious and uneven distribution of rainfall over larger area, the cotton production is only around 6-10

q/ha, but there are also certain econiches that have high productivity (20-30 q/ha) throughout the State. The frequent droughts and early termination of monsoon rains during September in Marathwada region called for strong water harvest programmes and farm ponds. It is noted that there is a vast potential for water harvest in the undulating terrain of Maharashtra. The total rainfall in cotton growing districts of Maharashtra is from 700 to 1000 mm and so it is not difficult to augment rain water through Farm ponds and Mini reservoirs.

The irrigated cotton in Maharashtra is having high yield potential (30-40 q/ha). Such efforts are taken care by CICR, Nagpur in the Research Farm revealed the success of water harvest programme in stepping up the cotton productivity. For every ten hectare area of the land, there should be one-hectare area under farm pond for effective water harvest programme. Crop management strategies, water harvest programme (developed by CICR, Nagpur) and “Ashta” model IPM approach hold the key for record production in Maharashtra.

  • Gujarat

In Gujarat, about 24 lakh hectares area is under cotton. To increase or enhance the productivity Herbaceum (Desi) cotton is a great challenge from existing low level of productivity of about 200kg/ha. This state is more prone to drought conditions and delay in rains cause heavy rainfalls which results in floods.

Gujarat has emerged as the largest cotton producer with 90% of hybrids of G. hirsutum group and a range of Bt cotton hybrids with productivity of 100 lakh bales in 2006-07.

In future irrigation practices and water harvesting through farm ponds and try of yielding drought resistant varieties can strengthen future situation. The Narmada Project will also help in increasing potential of irrigation and will help Gujarat to maintain the lead as largest cotton producing state. The Narmada Project, when completed may also increase irrigation potential; thereby Gujarat may maintain the lead as the largest cotton producing state.

  • Madhya Pradesh

The cotton growing area of Madhya Pradesh (Khargaon, Indore, and Khandwa) shows an undulating terrain with soil depth ranging from 15 cm to 2 meters. In valley portions productivity is very good (25 to 30 q/ha) and is very poor (5 to 8 q/ha) in eroded shallow soils.

In Madhya Pradesh irrigated cotton has tremendous production potential as compared to Central Zone States. The monsoon rains along with protective irrigations and cultivation of hybrid cotton holds the key for higher sustainable production in Madhya Pradesh, that has witnessed 18 lakh bales during 2006-07. Moreover, efforts and steps are needed for development of efficient genotypes suitable to shallow soils.


In South zone covers Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. South Zone states are also ideal for cultivation of extra long staple varieties of cotton, but the quality is dependent on irrigation conditions.

  • Andhra Pradesh

Since 1990 the area of cotton and production of cotton have increased and improved. The cotton area has shown increase from 6 lakh hectares to 10 lakh hectares along with increase in production from 17 lakh bales to 33-35 lakh bales. In Krishna, Guntur, Karimnagar, Kammam, Warangal, Adilabad, Mahaboobnagar, Prakasam and Nalgonda districts of Madhya Pradesh cotton is extensively grown.

Bt cotton hybrids that are popular are RCH 2 Bt, RCH 20 Bt, Bunny Bt, Mallika Bt and Tulasi Bt. 25% is under irrigated situation of the total area. The factors that lead to reduced yields are as follows multiplicity of cotton hybrids, extensive use of adultrated insecticides and pesticide use due to which the high yielding areas of Andhra Pradesh are affected. Outbreak of pests is seen when there are heavy rains which causes damage to cotton production.

Another major drawback in Andhra Pradesh is use of heavy dose of imbalanced

chemical fertilizer that is applied on cotton plant and monocropping of cotton practiced by cotton farmers. Cotton is damaged by bollworms,aphids,jassids and whiteflies and so appropriate remedies like Insecticide Resistance management strategies, Integrated Pest Management, Integrated Nutrient Management besides scientific methods of weed control and water management have been perfected through All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project of ICAR, State Agricultural University besides Central Institute for Cotton Research.

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These are the measures that are being followed in Andhra Pradesh for improving productivity of cotton and sustainability of cotton cultivation by farmers. In future, any incidence of newer pest / diseases or any abiotic stresses on cotton are continuously taken care and looked into by the scientists and developmental officials for immediate problem solving approaches for effective follow up by the farmers. Besides, ICAR sponsored Frontline Demonstrations under Technology Mission on Cotton have been conducted in farmer’s fields for demonstrating newly released cotton varieties/hybrids and Bt cotton hybrids, proper fertilizer usage, micronutrient need etc, wherein 15-20 % yield increase are reported.

  • Karnataka

A downtrend in area and production of cotton was shown by Karnataka over the years. The area where cotton is cultivated has come down to 4 lakh hectares. This reduction in area is due to competitive crops like maize and pulses. From Dharwad to Raichur , Karnataka covers vast tract of dry land and farming areas and in this belt the Desi cotton (G. herbaceum) is cultivated. Eventhough, production potential of this long duration herbaceum cotton is as low as 6-8 q/ha, but it can accommodate Onion and Chillies as inter crops and hence the farmers would like to continue to cultivate this cotton. In other remaining areas, other cotton hybrids as DHH 11, NHH 44 and other private sector Bt hybrids are grown. In Karnataka also, majority of cotton growing area (about 70%) are under rainfed condition. Protective and life saving irrigation are the only measures to raise the cotton production and productivity of the dry land cotton.

Cotton cultivation is also extended in the irrigated areas of Ghata Prabha, Mala Prabha and Thungabadhra ayacuts, only when the farmers leave monocropping of cotton and go for desi varieties of arboreum or desi hybrids to sustain cotton production and to save the crop from severe pest damages. Increase in productivity of quality hybrid DCH 32 and desi cottons/long-linted arboreum besides augmenting water resources and adoption of novel intercropping, rotation cropping in rainfed and irrigated command areas will give better economic returns to farmers and ensure sustainable production.

  • Tamil Nadu

The cotton area remains at 1.3 lakh hectares, and production and productivity has improved. Very rarely in irrigated areas and rainfed conditions, cotton is cultivated. Cotton varieties LRA 5166 and MCU-5 dominate the cotton acreage during main season and MCU-7 and SVPR-2 are cultivated as summer cotton. Cultivation of extra long staple super fine cotton “Suvin” is limited to about 1000 hectares and the area is declining further.

The possibilities regarding bringing additional area under ELS ( extra long staple) cotton needs to be explored in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, as the country urgently requires around 15 lakh bales of ELS cotton by 2010. With India accounting for 40% of global share in fine and super fine yarn, the production needs to be stepped up in a concerted way from present 3 lakh bales of ELS cotton to 15 lakh bales in few years from now.

3 Zones of India



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