New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawartoday said the government may consider allowing further exportof cotton, as production is expected to be slightly higherthan the initial estimate of 33.5 million bales in 2010-11crop year.
Presently, the government has allowed export of 5.5million bales for 2010-11 marketing season(October-September).
So far, 3.8 million bales have been exported.
When asked whether the production would be higher thanthe current estimate, Pawar said, "Not too much. Slightlyhigher than the estimate".
On allowing more exports, he said: "The first allottedquantity has not gone entirely. We will talk about furtherexports after 70-80 per cent of the quota gets shipped".
Pawar, however, said the government will protect theinterest of the domestic handloom sector, which is essentiallypoor and respresents minority.
The minister noted that the export window for India wasopen till March.
"American cotton crop condition is very good and it willstart coming into the market by March. The export window forIndia is open till March," he observed.
The minister said the production figures were brightbecause farmers lured by high prices were not uprooting thecotton plant after third-fourth picking of harvest.
Farmers are opting for fifth and sixth picking eventhough they are getting less yield after the fourth picking,he said. .