India would be self-reliant in the production of long staple cotton in a couple of years, Union Textile Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela said in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
India had to import about 400,000 bales of cotton in 2005-06 but the country's cotton growers would soon be producing enough to match the demand of about a million bales of long staple cotton, Vaghela told a seminar on 'Bountiful Cotton Harvest'.
"Though there is no competition with China as they have incomparable potential of production as well as indigenous ginning and pressing facilities, we are still competitive enough and hold a big share in the international market," he said.
The minister said the country would improve in terms of both quantity and quality and would have a larger share in the global markets in the near future.
He said the cotton production in Gujarat would remain largely unaffected despite recurrent floods in the state during this monsoon.
"So far as floods are concerned, the production in north Gujarat will suffer but it will have only a slight impact on the state's total production.
"Gujarat has already crossed a yield of 700 kg per hectare, which is very close to the international standards," Vaghela said.
He indicated that the term of Technology Mission for Cotton (TMC), which was to be over in 2007, would be increased by another three years.
"TMC has been beneficial for improving cotton quality, ginning and pressing. During the last four years, people of Gujarat have taken full advantage of the provisions of mission," the minister said.