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HDPS in Telangana to enhance cotton productivity by

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Hyderabad: Telangana could soon show the way to address the challenge of declining cotton productivity in India. The experiment of a new form of cotton production called High Density Planting System (HDPS) is yielding encouraging results, and this could be vital to ensure India’s leadership role in cotton production, as well as continued supplies to domestic textiles industry, which is under pressure to ramp up production with rise in global demand after Covid recovery.

It is estimated that HDPS/India can increase both production and productivity by 30-40% which has the potential to reach a level of 750 kg/ ha from the present level of 450 kg/ ha lint yield.

The HDPS method is especially useful for India’s low productivity belt. Over 37% of total cotton producing area comprising 4.16 million ha contributes only 22.3% of the total cotton production with average productivity of 252 kgs / ha, bringing down the national average substantially.

Rasi seeds, India’s leading Seed Company & a pioneer in HDPS has been working concertedly with Government of Telangana, Professor Jayshankar Telangana State Agriculture University (PJTSAU), farmers and scientists to enhance cotton productivity and improved mechanization through its specially developed hybrids for this form of cotton cultivation.

“The Rasi Max Project is an initiative to improve the profitability of farmers and increase India’s cotton productivity through agronomical intervention by adopting High Density planting System (HDPS) in cotton,” said Dr. Ramasami M, Chairman of Rasi Seeds.

As the name implies, as against 8000 plants per acre in traditional method, under HDPS plant population density is enhanced substantially by up to four times with 26,000 plants per acre. “The focus is to increase farmers’ income with high density planting and regulating the plant growth through customized agronomy and amenable genetics,” added N Saravanan, Head of Marketing, Rasi Seeds.

“Telangana government is committed to promoting innovative and sustainable agricultural practices like HDPS that will benefit our farmers. I urge scientists to continue working towards developing new technologies that can help increase the cotton productivity of our farmers and contribute to the growth of our agricultural sector,” said Agricultural Special Commissioner Hanumanthu Zandage, IAS.

The market leader for cotton seeds, Rasi Seeds first worked on developing a unique variety of hybrids for HDPS, which are characterized by synchronized and clean bursting. The mechanized picking in this cropping system ensures farmers are not dependent on manual labour, which has been a major constraint for the conventional system of cotton production.

The Rasi Max project was put to test in a project mode, under the close observation of the PJTSAU scientists as a proof of concept. The first ever demonstration of mechanical harvesting programs on HDPS hybrids of Rasi Max Series was done at PJTSAU, SRTC farm in Hyderabad in presence of Dr Praveen Rao, Ex Vice Chancellor, PJTSAU; Shri Hanumanthu Zandage, IAS, Special Commissioner of Agriculture, Govt. of Telangana; Dr. Jagadeshwar, Director Research, PJTSAU. KVK scientists and HDPS cluster’s district agriculture officer also joined. The machine harvesting demonstration of two-row picking was also done.

“We must encourage the adoption of HDPS technologies in cotton cultivation to benefit our farmers and promote sustainable agricultural practices. Learning from past challenges, we should prepare for upcoming seasons by having better coordination & collaboration with all stakeholders as it has the potential to transform Telangana ‘s agricultural landscape,” said Dr Praveen Rao, former Vice Chancellor, PJTSAU.

India is the world’s largest cotton producer with 6350 million tons production per annum and second largest exporter of cotton. The area sown under cotton crop is 122.3 lakh ha making it global number one in acreages also, yet India’s rank in productivity is at the rock bottom at. 44th globally. This productivity has reached a plateau in the last 5-7 years and this has implications for over 6.5 million cotton farmers and the textile industry, which employs 45 million people.

The HDPS is a sure way to address India’s growing concerns as well as retain her stature as one of the leading textiles industries in the world. This new form of cotton production could play a vital role in maintaining India’s position as a leader in cotton production and supplying the domestic textile Industry which is under pressure to increase the production due to rising domestic as well as global demand.

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