Cotton, Jute and Mesta are the important fibre crops grown in the State. These crops have been the traditional cash crops of Garo Hills.
Among these, Cotton has the highest area under cultivation and is grown exclusively in the Garo Hills districts. It is also widely known in the country and was marketed during the pre-independence period through the Comilla market. As such, the Garo hills varieties of cotton were also known as Comilla cotton. The variety D. 46-2-1 belonging to the Gossypium arboreum has a good market as short staple cotton, which is also used sometimes for mixing with wool.
During the ten years period (1990-91 to 2000-01), there was a qualitative and quantitative change in the cultivation of all the fibre crops in the State.
The average annual area, production and productivity of Cotton were 7512 Ha., 5887 bales and 133.36 kg/Ha. respectively. The average annual change in area, production and productivity was -10 hectares, 210 bales and 5.15 kg/Ha., which indicates that although there was a mark decrease in area, the production has however increased.
Cotton Varieties Grown
(Gossypium hirsutum, G. barbadense, G. arboreum and G. harbaceum)
D. 46-2-1, G 54-1, G 135-49
The average annual area, production and productivity of Jute were 4490 Ha., 33869 M.T. and 1358.54 kg/Ha. respectively. The average annual change in area, production and productivity was -100 Ha., -730 M.T. and 0.58 kg/Ha.
Jute Varieties Grown
(Corchorus capsularis and C.olitorious)
Capsularis : JRE-21, JRC 321, D-154, JRC-7447
Olitorious : JRO- 632, JRO 514, JRO 7835, JRO 878
The average annual area, production and productivity of Mesta were 4685 Ha., 21265 M.T. and 816.90 kg/Ha. The average annual change in area, production and productivity was -20 hectares,-120 M.T. and -1.35 kg/Ha.
Mesta Varieties Grown
(Hisbiscus sabdajirra and Hibiscus canabinus)
(i) H.C. 583
Hisbiscus Sabdariffa : (i) H.S. 4288 (ii) A.M.V.I
The stagnated and decreasing yield of the fibre crops, especially Jute and Mesta may be attributed to the un-remunerative price received by farmers for these crops. As such, these crops are being grown with minimum inputs and operational costs thereby resulting in decreased production and productivity.