EghtesadOnline: Cotton boll production is estimated to reach 260,000 tons in the current Iranian year (started March 20), from which about 80,000 tons of refined cotton are expected to be produced.
The latter figure shows a 25-30% increase compared with the previous year, says the CEO of Iran Cotton Fund.
“A total of 97,000 tons of cotton were imported during the last Iranian year [March 2019-20]. Yet, since the beginning of the current year, no imports have been made due to the coronavirus outbreak. Since cotton boll harvest doesn’t begin until Sept. 22, we need to purchase at least 30,000 tons of cotton to be able to meet the textile factories’ demands,” Hossein Kaviyani was quoted as saying by Young Journalists Club.
The official said last year Iran is able to meet 50% of its domestic demand for cotton, which stands at 120,000 tons per annum.
“The rest is imported, and that, not just in the form of cotton. We also import threads and textiles. We import from Uzbekistan, which has high-quality cotton, as well as India and China for the most part,” he told Mizan Online.
According to Kaviyani, land under cotton cultivation will increase by around 25% to stand at more than 100,000 hectares this year.
Hossein Shirzad, a deputy agriculture minister, said cotton cultivation can create six times more jobs than wheat production, four times as much as corn and colza, and 2.5 times as much as soybean production, noting that each job generated in a cotton plantation indirectly leads to the creation of five jobs in related industries and services.
“The Agriculture Ministry plans to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production by 2025,” Ebrahim Hezarjaribi, the manager of Cotton Project implemented by Agriculture Ministry, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency last year.
Iran has the capacity to increase cotton production, but the low price of cotton compared with other agricultural products discourages farmers from embarking upon cotton cultivation.
Kaviyani said Iran can produce 500,000 tons of cotton per year.
“Not long ago, we produced 350,000 tons to 360,000 tons of the product annually. We can bounce back and become self-sufficient in the field. Toward this end, the Agriculture Ministry must provide farmers with high-yielding seeds, introduce the latest cotton cultivation technologies into our plantations and set reasonable guaranteed prices for purchasing cotton bolls.”