Current Data on Cotton Production in India

Cotton is grown as a kharif crop in India.  The planting period of cotton normally is from March to September, while the harvesting period is from October to February. The peak marketing season for the crop is during November to March.  There are mainly three cotton-producing zones in India viz.

  • Northern zone (Hirsutum and Arboreum Zones), comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
  • Central zone (Hirsutum, Arboreum, Herbaceum and Hybrid Zones), comprising Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
  • Southern zone (Hirsutum, Arboreum, Herbaceum, Barbadense and Hybrid Zones) comprising Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

About 70% of total cotton is produced in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

StateProduction (2015-16)*% Share in Production
All - India30.15100
* million bales of 170 Kg each; Source: India Agricultural Statics Pocketbook, 2016

The northern region produces short and medium staple cotton; the southern region normally produces long staples cotton, while the central region produces long and medium staples. Names of Some Popular Hybrid Varieties of Cotton: Assam Comilla, Bengal Desi, Jayadhar, Marathwada & Khandesh , Jhurar, Bunny Brahma, Brahma, Bunny, Suvin.

For a healthy growth, cotton requires uniformly high temperature (21°C to 30°C) and at least 210 frost free days in a year. Since it requires modest rainfall; a large part of cotton is grown in India in rainfed areas. The best soil to growth cotton are Black soils of Deccan and Malwa plateau; however, cotton also grows well in alluvial soils of the Satluj-Ganga plain and red and laterite soils of the peninsular region. Since cotton farming is less mechanized in India, it needs cheap labour.

Global Production Figure
  • Globally, around 110 million bales (25 million tonnes) of cotton is produced of which maximum share is of China with 38 million bales, followed by India with near 37 million bales of 170 Kg each. However, in terms of cultivation area, India is first in world.
  • Most of the cotton produced in China is consumed domestically. Due to this, China is not a large exporter of cotton. World’s largest cotton exporting country is United States; followed by India.
Production in India

India is first country in the word in terms of cultivation area and second in the world in terms of production, next to China. Starting with a humble figure of 3 million bales; India has attained the status of second largest producer country today with a production of 36.59 million bales in 2013-14.

India has area under cotton cultivation ranging between 110 to 121 lakh hectares and constitutes around 25% of the total area under Cotton Cultivation in the world. Out of this around 65% is rainfed area and remaining around 35% is irrigated area. Thus, cotton is an important rainfed crop in India.

Gujarat is India’s largest cotton producing state with production of 11 million bales that is equivalent to 30% share in total production. Gujarat is followed by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.