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Iran's cotton production plummets to lowest level in 27 years

TEHRAN, Jan. 5 (Mehr News Agency) -- The nation's cotton production has plummeted to its lowest level in the past 27 years, the Society of Cotton Gin Industries of Khorasan Province warned in a letter to the Agricultural Jihad Minister Mohammad Reza Eskandari.

In its letter, the Society of Cotton Gin Industries of Khorasan Province referred to the problems facing the nation's cotton industries and called for the allocation of subsidies to the cotton growers.

Agricultural Jihad Ministry should be accountable to the cotton producers and consumers of the country, the letter read in parts, adding that the increase in the production costs including the growing prices of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, water and finally the harvest have all led to the hike in the finished price of the commodity.

The writers of the letter also thanked the ministry for its rejection of a plan based on which the tariffs on the imported cotton would be reduced. At the end of their letter, they cautioned that given the growing world prices for the product and the gradual reduction in the subsidies given to the sector worldwide, the textile industries would be facing crises by 2010.

According to a survey, since 1325 (1946) onwards, cotton cultivation has gained momentum in Iran. During the 1950s and 60s, around 330,000 hectares of lands were dedicated to cotton cultivation, producing 150 thousand tons of ginned cotton. In 1353 (1974) alone, the national throughput of ginned cotton bumped a record 237,000 tons, catapulting Iran to the rank of the seventh largest producer in the world.

According to the latest survey, the area of cotton farms fell 26,705 hectares or 10 percent in 1377 (1987) from 233,014 hectares a year earlier. Experts blame the decline on the low price of cotton lint against other products, spiraling production expenses and delay in reimbursement of farmers.

Experts contend adequate incentives to farmers would raise ginned cotton production to 500 thousand tons per year. Yet, negligence of relevant officials has diminished cotton output drastically.

A large expanse of the Iranian territory, particularly the provinces of Mazandaran, Khorasan, Fars, Markazi, East Azarbaijan, Tehran, Kermanshah, Semnan, Kerman and the cities of Gorgan and Gonbad are ripe for cotton cultivation.

... Payvand News - 1/6/07 ... --

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