The long and the short of Indian cotton

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EXOTIC COTTON (Long-stapled)

• Fibre is fine
• Fibre can easily be spun into threads
• Fibre is strong and maintains shape
• Ideal for mechanised spinning and weaving in textile industry
• Definite flowering periods

• Susceptible to pests and diseases
• Seeds outweigh fibre
• Higher insecticide and fertiliser demand

DESI COTTON (Short-stapled)

• Requires less water
• Requires almost no fertiliser
• Is resistant to cotton pests, particularly bollworm, so pesticide used is limited
• For textile industry, better fibre to seed ratio
• Ideal for handspun and handwoven khadi cloth
• Cotton produced is a better absorbent

• Indefinite and prolonged flowering period, making cotton plucking labour intensive and time consuming
• Fibre is coarse
• Fibre lacks spinability, strength and shape