DUSHANBE, January 17, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- 210,000 hectares have been allocated to cotton cultivation this year, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Sijouddin Isroilov, announced at a news conference in Dushanbe on January 17.

According to him, cotton producing districts are expected to get on average 2 tons per hectares this year and this year’s cotton target has been determined at 400,000 tons of raw.

Last year, Tajik cotton growers yielded more than 415,000 tons of cotton, which was 6.2 percent more than it was originally planned.  Last year’s cotton target was determined at 390,000 tons of raw cotton.

In 2011, Tajik cotton growers reported the highest average cotton yields over the past twenty years – 2.5 tons per one hectares.

“Last autumn, the international cotton prices slightly fell, while to-date, the international cotton prices has risen from US$1,500 per ton last autumn to US$1,900 per ton,” the deputy minister noted.    

Cotton makes an important contribution to both the agricultural sector and the national economy.  Cotton accounts for 60 percent of agricultural output, supports 75 percent of the rural population, and uses 45 percent of irrigated arable land.  At the national level, it is an important source of both export earnings and tax revenue.  Cotton fiber accounts for some 15 percent of Tajikistan’s exports.  Tajikistan is reportedly the world’s fourth largest exporter of cotton, and there is strong demand on international markets for its high quality product.