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Cotton Cultivation in Other Countries

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COTTON CULTIVATION IN OTHER COUNTRIES. Bast India.— Next to the United States East India is the largest cotton producing country in the world. The plant is cultivated to a greater or less extent in nearly every presidency or province, extending from the North West Frontier province in the ex treme north to the Madras presidency in the extreme south, and from the Bombay presidency on the western coast to the farthest confines of Assam and Burmah where they unite with China and Siam in the East. The sections of India where the bulk of the crop is raised em brace four principal cotton regions: the valley of the Ganges, the Deccan, western India and southern India.

Although the area devoted to cotton in re cent years is immense-25,000,000 acres in 1914, or more than two-thirds of the American area —yet the yield per acre is barely one-third of the average yield in the Southern States, that of India being 80-85 pounds compared with 185 190 pounds in this country. There are plenty of good cotton lands throughout the empire, but their fertility is exhausted from many cen turies of cultivation. Fertilizers are never used and cotton is cultivated pretty much as it was a thousand years ago in the most primitive man ner. Both the soil and climatic conditions in the several cotton-growing provinces vary more than in any other cotton country of importance. In some sections the rainfall is abundant, while in others it is so light as to necessitate irriga tion. Nor are the seasons uniform, but vary considerably in the different sections; for in stance, while cotton is being harvested in the northern provinces, in the extreme south the seed are being planted, and such is the variance of the seasons that cotton picking is going on somewhere in almost every month of the year. Thus, in the Bengals and Sindh the usual date of planting is from the middle to the end of June; picking begins in September and Octo ber and ends in December and January. In the Coompta and Dharwar districts planting time is from the middle to the end of August, while picking begins in February and March and ends in May and June. In the extreme South — the Madras presidency — planting be gins in October and November which picking begins in April and usually ends during the month of June.

The native cottons of India have a very short, coarse fibre, from one-half to three quarters of an inch staple, and are used in the manufacture of very low counts of yarn. There are, however, some varieties such as Hing hunghat from the Central provinces, Oomras from Berars in central India, Dhollerars from the Bombay presidency and Tinnevellys from the Madras presidency, the staples of which run from three-quarters to one and one-eighth inches and are used in turning out counts or numbers of yarn 24s and below, usually for weft or filling.

Although India has for centuries produced large quantities of cotton, from which the most beautiful and delicate fabrics were woven and sent to all parts of the world, it was not until the cotton famine brought about by the Civil War, 1861-65, that its raw product began to assume commercial importance. Prior to this period the average annual exports of raw cot ton amounted to about 600,000 bales of 500 pounds; since then the exports have gradually increased until now fully 2,000,000 bales (of 500 pounds) are shipped annually from Bom bay and other ports to foreign countries. In the distribution of the crop Great Britain takes about 2% per cent, Japan and China 24 per cent, the continent of Europe 31 per cent, domestic manufacturing establishments 35 per cent and domestic hand machines 7Y2 per cent.

The following table will give an idea of the progress made in the cotton industry in British India 1870-1907. (The largely reduced acreage in 1915 was the result of the European War) : Egypt.— As is true of East India and other Eastern countries, cotton was grown in Egypt at a time antedating all historical records. It is now cultivated all along the Nile, from the Soudan to the Delta of this wonderful stream, but the rainfall is so light that no crops can be grown without irrigation, and the Nile is the only source of water supply. Irrigation works known as the "Barrage" a few miles north of Cairo were completed in 1863. In 1898 the gov ernment began the construction of two great dams across the Nile, one near Assuan and the other at Assiout. They were completed by 1906 and as a result the cotton acreage has increased by about 25 per cent. The area in the Delta country, however, has about reached its limit, and any increase hereafter must be looked for in the Soudan and the Upper Nile country. For hundreds of years a low grade cotton had been produced from the native plant and used in domestic manufactures, but a great impetus was given to the industry in 1821, when a new variety of seed was introduced from Abyssinia, and, again, cotton culture was still more greatly stimulated by the cotton famine caused by the American Civil War.

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