EghtesadOnline: A total of 200,000 tons of cotton bolls are estimated to be produced in Iran during the current Iranian year that started on March 21.
Due to drought and low precipitation levels, the estimate is lower compared with last year’s output, according to the manager of Cotton Project implemented by the Agriculture Ministry.
Last year (March 2020-21), some 270,000 tons were harvested and the production is estimated to experience a 26% decline this year.
“Cotton cultivation started in late April and we estimated that up to 115,000 hectares of land will go under cultivation this year, but given the unexpected and unfavorable weather conditions, only 80% of this goal can materialize,” Ebrahim Hezarjaribi was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official noted that 90,000 hectares of land have gone under cotton cultivation this year, down from last year’s 98,000 hectares.
Prior to the revised estimate, more than 327,000 tons of cotton bolls were expected to be produced this year – a 21% increase compared with last year.
“At present, we have cotton plantations in 20 provinces across the country with Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, Golestan, Fars and Ardabil being the main hubs. To be able to meet the growing demand, we plan to expand land under cotton cultivation. So, as of this summer, Sistan-Baluchestan, and warmer areas in Ilam, Lorestan and Kermanshah will also join the cotton producing provinces,” he added.
Hezarjaribi said last year, domestic demand for cotton bolls stood close to 360,000 tons while estimates are that this year the figure will increase to at least 450,000 tons.
“Domestic demand for refined cotton has increased to an estimated 150,000 tons this year, such that local textile industries say they will need an overall of 200,000 tons of cotton over the next few years to be able to meet growing demand,” he said.
Hezarjaribi says the Agriculture Ministry plans to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production by 2025.
Iran imported 70,000 tons of cotton worth more than $140 million during the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), showing a 30% decline in value compared with the year before, Agriculture Ministry figures show.
Drought has inflicted 670 trillion rials ($2.68 billion) in losses on Iran’s agriculture sector since the beginning of the current crop year.
According to Mohammad Mousavi, an official with Agriculture Ministry, assessments carried out over 11.2 million hectares of farming lands in 30 provinces show 43% of total losses pertained to the decline in production of agronomic crops, 26% to horticultural products, 13% to fisheries and livestock, and 11% to forage crops, Mehr News Agency reported.