Govt may consider further export of cotton

New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday said the government may consider allowing further export of cotton, as production is expected to be slightly higher than the initial estimate of 33.5 million bales in 2010-11 crop year.

Presently, the government has allowed export of 5.5 million bales for 2010-11 marketing season(October-September).

So far, 3.8 million bales have been exported.

When asked whether the production would be higher than the current estimate, Pawar said, "Not too much. Slightly higher than the estimate".

On allowing more exports, he said: "The first allotted quantity has not gone entirely. We will talk about further exports after 70-80 per cent of the quota gets shipped".

Pawar, however, said the government will protect the interest of the domestic handloom sector, which is essentially poor and respresents minority.

The minister noted that the export window for India was open till March.

"American cotton crop condition is very good and it will start coming into the market by March. The export window for India is open till March," he observed.

The minister said the production figures were bright because farmers lured by high prices were not uprooting the cotton plant after third-fourth picking of harvest.

Farmers are opting for fifth and sixth picking even though they are getting less yield after the fourth picking, he said.