The Southern India Mills' Association – Cotton Development and Research Association has called for zoning of cotton growing areas.

According to the chairman of the association P.D. Damodaran the zoning should be based on the soil profile of the area and it should be done mainly in rain-fed areas. Zoning will help bring the Government agencies and private firms to come together for the benefit of the farmer with pre-sowing seed management etc.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the association here recently, he said the association was pursuing a Rs. 2-crore proposal to have seed cluster villages, quality seed production, processing, storage, plant leaf analysis, gene technology and seed store.

Mr. Damodaran said the textile industry in the country was facing four major problems on the cotton front – uncertainty about cotton production, low cotton yields, quality of cotton and cultivation of large number of BT cotton varieties. Since cotton accounted for 60 per cent of the cost of yarn, availability and quality of cotton was important for the textile industry.

The spiralling cotton prices and the precarious cotton position in the country were threatening the survival of the domestic industry. In cotton cultivation, use of poor quality inputs was resulting in low productivity and this increased the cost of cultivation. Further, multiple varieties resulted in rampant mixing in cotton. These were issues of concern, he said.

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