PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR'S REPORT : 2003 - 04

Introduction


Cotton season during last Kharif season was good and the country harvested about 17.0 million bales from approximately 7.8 million hectares. The fibre productivity jumped from 322 kg/ha to 374 kg/ha. The farmers of all the ten cotton-growing states were patronized by high market sentiments that kept the price of seed cotton very good. The encouragement that was received from both suitable agro-climatic conditions gave a morale boosting production. So 2004 in effect is a "cotton year" although shades of various intensity droughts pervaded the country's peninsular region in different intensities. All the cotton-growing states have contributed in this productivity enhancement. The northern states, once again, produced high fibre yield in the absence of serious bollworm outbreak. In central zone, although the western parts such as parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra had excess and extended rainfall, the rest of the season proved good for the crop and produced good fibre yield.

Analysis of the good effects of research and development in this fibre crop, especially through the synergised Mini Mission-I programmes of Technology Mission on Cotton has led us to believe that the new breeding materials that are developed and tested country-wide could result in predictive enhancement of fibre quality with better yield and concomitant pest and disease tolerance. The accent to reduce cost of cultivation has been ingrained in the research efforts and results of these have yielded such technologies that can offer cost reduction. When the new world trade order is to augur from next year, this factor only can prove to be the advantage in global competitions. The current demand from Textile industry for raw material of specific qualities is fairly satiated from our cotton farms. Market-driven production system has come into vogue in different parts of the country, where contract farming is highlighted as a route to achieve satiation of textile units. This approach of captive production system would enable harnessing of quality raw material at reasonable cost. However, the farmer, the lowest link of the chain shall be honoured in the terms of contract for supporting risks through which farming for cotton production has to proceed.

Dry land agriculture (65% of cultivated area) with the resilience for facing climatic vagaries has been fully used for optimized land utilization with cotton as the hub crop and cereals such as millets as well as pulses and lentils supporting the farmers for both nutritional and economic security. Hybrid cotton technology has been the mainstay to reap better harvest in dry land. Huge presence of private R & D system in this region helped to sustain dry land cotton productivity. This year saw the large-scale cultivation of hybrids in Punjab, to the extent of more than 10% of cotton area. Farmers of other states such as Haryana and Rajasthan have become enthusiastic about hybrids, mainly due to the awareness created about the Bollgard hybrids. Resource-rich states shall reap advantage if they take to cotton hybrids for stabilizing quality fibre production.

Basic research in male sterility from ICAR system has enabled these companies to bring out good hybrids having suitable fibre quality. Diploid cotton hybrids, having good fibre quality, have come to stay and this shall be tapped for the north zone. The pro-active Breeders' Conclave of 2003 February gave the thrust for planning of various experiments in order to harness genetic diversity as well as high hybrid vigour. These action plans are proceeding in the right direction to bring out the right hybrids for the country's cotton growing zones.

Extensive cultivation of Bollgard I cotton hybrid happened during last season. Cotton farmers have gone in with enthusiasm for their cultivation. More than 0.80 lakh ha area was under MECH Bt cotton hybrids.
Supply and demand position of cotton lint

The opening stock 24 lakh bales of this year, the mill consumption of last year being 136 lakh bales. Import of 17.67 lakh bales was done. A crop production of 168 lakh bales for mill and SSI consumption as well as others was estimated by Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) as on 10th March 2003. This year's area has been finalized at 7.614 million hectares and the production is estimated to be 16.75 million bales. Thus the productivity is estimated to be 374 kg lint/ha, which has increased by about 16.7%. There is a marked boost in the productivity of many states during this year.

Pests and diseases

In general, the country had a moderate bollworm incidence and damage. The situation in northern states was never alarming. Punjab had moderate population of American bollworm while the Spotted bollworm was seen in the mid to late season, while no appreciable damage due to Pink bollworm was observed. AICCIP and CICR through one NATP Project operating on pest forewarning issued an outbreak warning in central zone, particularly, in Vidarbha and Gujarat as well as in Andhra Pradesh. Although the population was seen to build up in 45-65 days old crop, the climatic conditions did not favour their further build up. There was, however, the high build up of Pink bollworm in this zone. In South zone, the Pink bollworm dominated the crop fields although spotted bollworm had spurts of population build up in 1-3 peaks in dry lands as well as in coastal area.

The outbreak of Alternaria leaf blight and Grey mildew disease in south zone was significant, especially in hybrids such as Bunny and certain Bt hybrids. The critical damage of these diseases at peak boll formation stage was quite threatening, while adequate pre-emptive control measures were taken by AICCIP by alerting the local State Agricultural Department in Tamil Nadu as well as through print and radio media coverage. The drought conditions that set in the season did not allow the diseases to further dominate. In north zone, the Cotton Leaf Curl Virus disease has been moderate. Many hybrids that were introduced in Punjab for the first time were seen to be infected. AICCIP constituted a Study Team comprising of Dr. V.G. Malathi, Principal Scientist (Plant Pathology), Advanced Centre for Plant Virology of the Division of Plant Pathology, IARI, New Delhi, Dr. Dilip Monga, Head, CICR, Sirsa Regional Station and B.D. Ajmera, Senior Cotton Pathologist, from AICCIP centre at Sriganganagar to survey and study the current epidemiological pattern of the disease. The team concluded:

1. The disease intensity varied from 5-60% depending on the cultivar used, though wide-spread in 2K3 season,
2. Resistant hirsutum genotypes have reduced the disease incidence.
3. G.arboreum remained immune to this disease.
4. Whitefly population observed on leaves and disease severity/incidence had no correlation.

The inputs from the samples of this study shall be utilized by this team of scientists to develop a robust detection system specific for CLCuV to identify disease free cotton plants and also infected weed hosts. The team also decided to continue the study on:

1. Molecular variability of CLCuV in northern states.
2. Contribution of alternate and collateral hosts in the infection cycle of this virus.
3. Biotypes of whitefly.

Cost of cultivation

There has been a reduction in cost of cultivation, mainly due to the reduction in pest incidence and damage during 2003 season. The cotton cultivators have taken advantage of the dry conditions to harvest good quality cotton. The late season aphid infestation did not adversely affect the quality of crop harvest. The pest load in the crop was not alarming to warrant high investment on plant protection. Most states had ended up with a maximum average spray of 6-8 numbers against various pests.

Quality of Indian Cotton

The country emerged as a major yarn exporter during 2003 and has utilized the cotton stocks for this purpose. The current quality of cotton that was harvested in this season is able to meet the existing demands of processors. Meanwhile, the AICCIP centres have followed the fibre quality norms provided Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), Mumbai. This was followed rigidly in the selection of new breeding materials as well as genetic materials for further breeding. The country's need of the hour is a maximum quantity for 40s and 50s count cotton with specified micronaire, elongation percent and Uniformity ratio that would reduce under-spinning and effective raw materials utilization by the industry. The synergy of research work in AICCIP that has been attained to achieve cotton varieties and hybrids with such quality standards through Mini Mission I programmes of Technology Mission on Cotton and NATP projects for hybrids has led to rich materials in all AICCIP centers. In and industry-research interaction meeting at CICR, these products were showcased and received appreciation of the industry. AICCIP is expected to bring out new cultivars only under these guidelines.
Private Sector Participation

More than 45 private seed companies, that have recognition of the Department of Science and Industrial Research under Ministry of Science and Technology, have been offering their hybrids for national trials and those that are qualifying to be forwarded are entering the respective AICCIP trials. These companies also have now to take cognizance of the CIRCOT norms, while entering in the AICCIP trials in order to unify process of development of raw material for the industry in addition to tolerance/resistance to pests and diseases that are prevalent in each zone to which they target their genotypes. The opening up for the AICCIP participation by private R & D houses has led to awareness about the raw material's quality requirement. It also encouraged them to weed out those untested hybrids t6hat were widely marketed. They could maintain a good vigil on the marketing of spurious seeds and F2s by taking recourse of appropriate measures, available in the country.

Release and Notification of Varieties

During the year, the following cotton/hybrids have been recommended for release and notification at the 37th Central Sub-committee on Notification and Release of Varieties of Agricultural Crops (CSN&RVAC).

Name of Variety
Species
State for which released
Developed by
Swadeshi-1 (ADCH -1) Intra arboreum hybrid Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Gujarat & Uttar Pradesh
Ankur seeds
Nagpur

Mallika(NCHH 207)

Intra hirsutum
hybrid
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu
Nuziveedu seeds Ltd., Guntur

The same committee has also recommended the following varieties hybrids for notification.

Varieties / Hybrid
Species
State released for
Developed by
F.1881 G. hirsutum Punjab Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana
G.Cot.19 G.arboreum Gujarat Gujarat Agricultural University, Surat
G.Cot. MDH.11 Desi hybrid Gujarat Gujarat Agricultural University, Surat
G. Cot .23 G. herbaceum Gujarat Gujarat Agricultural University, Surat

Testing of Bt Cotton Hybrids

The 2003 season witnessed the testing of the following Bollgard I & II hybrids from M/S. Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company, M/S. Rasi Seed Company & M/S. Ankur Seeds Private Limited, Nagpur. During 2003 season, eight Bollgard I hybrids in North zone, 12 H x H Bollgard I hybrids and three Bollgard II hybrids in Central zone as well as eight H x H Bollgard I hybrids, two H x B hybrids and three Bollgard II hybrids in South zone (of two R&D houses) were evaluated. Some of these hybrids were also tested in the second year.

Quality of Indian Cotton

The country emerged as a major yarn exporter during 2003 and has utilized the cotton stocks for this purpose. The current quality of cotton that was harvested in this season is able to meet the existing demands of processors. Meanwhile, the AICCIP centres have followed the fibre quality norms provided Central Institute for Cotton Research.

Breeder Seed Production

During the year 2003-04, 34 varieties and nine hybrids were taken up for seed production. Eleven Universities Centres and two ICAR Institutes participated into programme. As against a total indent of 75.4 quintals, as much as 261.8 quintal of breeder seeds were produced. The breeder seed indents and production matched in respect of most of the varieties and hybrids, except perhaps a marginal mismatch in respect of varieties like F.846, BN, RG 18,Pusa 8-6 and AKA 84635 (TC) under TMC-MM II, Rs.1.00 lakh was distributed to all the AICCIP Centres and ICAR Institutes which participated in the breeder seed production as Incentive for Maintenance of Nucleus and Breeder Seeds.

Linkages with Ministries, Department User Agencies and other Institutions

The Mini Mission-I of Technology Mission on Cotton operated 23 projects across 8 programmes during last year in the 28 centres. During last year, under NATP, there were 4 Mission-Mode Projects, seven projects for Production System Research under irrigated ecosystem, 13 projects under Rainfed Cotton Production System, one under Coastal agro-ecosystem and one Competitive Grant project. In addition, some ICAR Ad-hoc Projects were also being pursued (given elsewhere). The following information on Breeders Seed Production and Frontline Demonstration provides the active involvement of AICCIP in channelising TMC-Mini Mission II funds of the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture.

Frontline Demonstrations

INTRODUCTION

The All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (AICCIP) acts as the nodal agency for conducting the cotton Front Line Demonstration (FLD) programme in the country. The Project Coordinator (Cotton) coordinates and monitors the implementation of the FLD programme with Headquarters at the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Regional Station, Coimbatore. For the year 2003-04, the FLDs are allotted to sixteen AICCIP centres.

OBJECTIVES

  • To demonstrate the usefulness of the latest improved crop production and protection technologies to the farmers as well as extension workers with a view to reduce the time gap between technology generation and its adoption.
  • To enable Scientists obtain direct feed back from cotton farmers and suitably reorient their research programmes and develop appropriate technology packages.
  • To create effective linkage among Scientists, Extension Personnel and Farmers.

NODAL AGENCY

The All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (AICCIP) acts as the Nodal Agency for conducting the cotton Front Line Demonstration (FLD) programme in the country. The Project Coordinator (Cotton Improvement) coordinates and monitors the implementation of the FLD Programme with Headquarters at the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Regional Station, and Coimbatore. The FLDs are organized through sixteen centres of the AICCIP network spread over ten cotton-growing states. Besides, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur and its regional station at Sirsa also participated actively in the programme.

FINANCIAL OUTLAY

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India has sanctioned Rs.20 lakh for conducting 380 FLDs for the year 2003-04.

LINKAGES WITH EXTENSION OFFICIALS

The FLDs offer a good opportunity for closer interaction between Scientists of different disciplines and the extension officials of cotton growing states. The coordinating centres organize Krishi Melas during the cropping season for highlighting the major achievements, packages of practices and newer technologies ready for transfer to farmers' fields. This has facilitated better feedback from the farmers to the scientists.

DETAILS OF DEMONSTRATION

Each demonstration is held in an area of 1 ha. The farmers involved in this programme are provided with a subsidy of Rs. 2,500/- per demonstration towards purchase of inputs required for effective implementation of the technologies. Such selected farmers serve as 'Lead Farmers' and guide other farmers in the neighbouring areas for quicker adoption of the improved technologies.

The participating centres have the mandate to conduct one or two Krishi Mela at selected demonstration fields to enable the farming community to have first hand experience of the new technology working under field conditions. An amount of Rs. 1000/- per demonstration has been allotted for arranging Krishi Mela. An amount of Rs. 1500/- per demonstration has been provided for P.O.L. charges and TA for effective monitoring of demonstrations in the organizing centres.

During the year 2003-04, a total of 380 Front Line Demonstrations were allotted to sixteen AICCIP network centers all over the country. Only 350 demonstrations were conducted.

General Policy issues

The AICCIP has taken a policy issue in regard to the denotification of varieties and hybrids that are out of Breeders seed Production chain. Accordingly, 99 varieties and hybrids have been recommended to be denotified to Central varietal release Committee. Some of the state governments have sent recommendations to this effect.

Accordingly, the cotton cultivars AK.277, AK.255, AKH.5, CJ.73, Gaorani-22, Rohini (NA.48), Godavari (NHH.1), Purnima (NHH.239), Nagnath, Namdeo (PA.141), NHH.302, PHA.46, Jyoti ((CC-1-1-3), NIMBKAR-1, have now been officially denotified vide Gazette of India No. 132 dated 4th February, 2004.

There is also a decision regarding the Breeding for fibre quality norms in which CIRCOT norms have to be rigidly followed.