Telangana is the country’s top producer of cotton, while being second in terms of growing area after Maharashtra.

The Agriculture Department has set a goal of planting cotton on 75 lakh acres during the upcoming Vaanakalam (Kharif) crop season, providing much-needed impetus to the state’s cotton production. It has resolved to provide full cooperation to cotton producers and promote the crop on a large scale, as well as enacting a Cotton Solvent policy to encourage ginning factories in the state.

Telangana cultivated cotton crop in about 60 lakh acres during Yasangi (Rabi) season this year. Though it stands second in terms of cultivation area after Maharashtra, the State is largest producer of cotton in the country. Further, the cotton produced in the State has been already recognised by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) as a top quality product in the country as well as international market.

Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy held a meeting with the representatives of Telangana Ginners Association at his chambers here on Monday, and informed them that the State government was ready to provide more incentives to the ginning mills in addition to the supply of subsidised power presently. A decision in this regard will be taken after getting a nod from Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao who has been advising farmers to take up cultivation of crops alternative to paddy.

Since the State formation, the number of ginning mills has gone up from less than 100 to nearly 350 ginning mills at present, while another 30 mills are under construction. The number of ginning mills is expected to increase further, due to increased cotton production. Considering the demand for sub-products like cotton seed oil, cake and solvent in the national and international markets, the State government is planning to bring a Cotton Solvent policy.

Agricultural scientists are also working on developing a cotton variety that can survive summer heat and complete the crop cycle in a single season, according to the Agriculture Minister. Farmers will be able to plant the crop through both seasons if it is successful, and it might become a viable alternative to paddy production, he noted. He also recommended farmers to abandon rice growing in favour of cotton farming. “There is no shortage of irrigation water in the state to develop the cotton crop. Farmers must concentrate on farm mechanisation in order to lessen their reliance on labourers, who are in limited supply,” he said.