EghtesadOnline: Land under cotton cultivation will increase by 20% to stand at 80,000 hectares in the current Iranian year (started March 21), the deputy agriculture minister said.
“Cotton cultivation can create six times more jobs than wheat, four times more than corn and colza, and 2.5 times more than soybean production. Each job generated in a cotton plantation creates five jobs in related subsectors and services,” Hossein Shirzad was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
He added that the domestic textile industry needs close to 120,000 tons of combed cotton annually, Financial Tribune reported.
According to Hossein Kaviyani, CEO of Iran Cotton Fund, about 52,500 tons of cotton were imported into Iran last year, indicating a 20.5% decrease compared with the previous year, Young Journalists Club reported.
“Due to the damage caused to wheat, barley and colza farms during recent floods in the northern Golestan Province, this year most farmers will be cultivating cotton instead. It is estimated that 30,000 hectares of land will go under cotton cultivation this year. The figure stood at 10,000 hectares last year,” he said.
Golestan is Iran’s cotton production hub.
According to the official, Iran was an exporter of cotton before the 80s.
“In Golestan Province alone, we had 180,000 hectares of cotton plantations that produced 135,000 tons of cotton. This has reduced to 11,000 hectares today. Close to 100,000 tons of exports used to be made from Golestan to 23 countries,” he told Financial Tribune in December.
According to Ebrahim Hezarjaribi, the manager of Agriculture Ministry's Cotton Project, the ministry plans to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production by 2025.
Iran has the capacity to increase cotton production, but the low price of cotton compared with other agricultural products discourages farmers.