India set for record in area under cotton
by Vivek Deshpande, 23 July 2010. Indian Express
Maximum area under cotton cultivation this year, with the area estimated to touch 110 lakh hectares-more than one-third of the world's total cotton area. While the increase in Vidarbha is mainly owing to repeated crises of diseases and low prices in the past two years for soybean, the overall increase in attributed largely to the success story of Bt cotton. The success is also due to introduction of effective insecticides like gaucho, spinosad and indoxacarb. Integrated Pest and Resistance Management programmes were also introduced around the same time when Bt came says Keshav Kranthi, director of Central Institute for Cotton Research. The cotton area in the country in 2002, the year when Bt cotton was introduced, was about 76.67 lakh hectares. It has shot up by about 30 lakh hectares over the years. The contrasting drop in production despite an increase in area was attributed to factors like erratic rains, diseases like reddening of leaves, milibug, leaf-curl virus and other such miscellaneous insect bugs.
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Uzramma has been working on 'artisanal' cotton textile production since 1990. This includes several processes - making yarn, weaving and dyeing. She believes that textiles have gone through a different history during the pre-colonial period because - unlike other sectors of the economy - it was relatively less hierarchical. "A large part of society was engaged in production," she observes. "There were lateral relationships." Later, she elaborated on how Hindus and Muslims worked in harmony, albeit in different sectors of textile production. She has found, in the course of her prolonged engagement with this traditional industry, that it was best to combine practical work, even designing new spinning units, with historical research.
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