Cotton Hybrids and their Role in Indian Economy
Feb 11, 2019
India is the pioneer country in the world for cultivating hybrid cotton on a commercial scale. The world’s first intra-hirsutum hybrid i.e. H4 was released in 1970 from Surat (Gujarat) and the world’s first interspecific tetraploid hybrid i.e. “Varalaxmi” was released from Dharwad (Karnataka). Later on, several high yielding hybrids in tetraploid cottons and a few in diploid cottons were released especially for central and southern zones. Recently, some hybrids have been released for north zone also. Hybrid cottons now cover about 40% of the total cotton area and contribute about 50% to the national cotton production. Hybrid cottons have helped India in achieving self sufficiency in cotton production and also in providing employment opportunities to millions of rural people. Now India earns about 420 thousand million rupees of foreign exchange per annum by way of cotton export in the form of lint, yarn and fabrics, half of which comes through hybrids. Besides yield remarkable improvement has been achieved in fiber quality. Various aspects of hybrid cotton such as area under cultivation, types of hybrids, hybrid research centres, practical achievements, hybrid seed production, role of hybrids, limitations and future outlook are discussed.