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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ukrainians to restart growing cotton for its defense industry

Ukrinform has explored whether Ukrainian farm businesses will be able to provide the domestic defense industry with their own-produced cotton – a scarce component for gunpowder production

It is time to think seriously about the setting up of self-sufficient production of gunpowder, starting with the cultivation of the necessary raw material – cotton

In view of security issues, Ukraine will need, first of all, to establish a process for primary processing of cotton – fiber separation, sorting, etc. The price for all the components used in the production of ammunition has increased as well, especially for gunpowder, an important component of which is nitrocellulose, a product of raw cotton processing.

With a domestic cotton growing capacity in place, Ukraine’s defense industry will be able to reduce its dependence on foreign supplies. Before the Great War, cotton was grown in Ukraine only for scientific research purposes and on a few hectares. In the year the war broke out, the experimental fields were expanded in order to see more of this crop for next year’s harvest (cotton cultivation requires plowing in the fall and loosening in the spring). The country will soon have to expand its cultivated areas for this crop to up to 30,000 hectares in order to meet the minimum need for the raw materials used in defense production (10,000 tons per year).

Provided that this year’s experiment is a success, this is not such a difficult task. After all, in the years 1920–1950, cotton was grown en masse in southern Ukrainian regions. In some years, the sown area reached 220,000-240,000 hectares. During 1954-1959, cotton was gradually removed from the crop rotation by farms in southern Ukraine. The reason was the excessively high cost of the grown produce compared to farms in Soviet Central Asia, where the yield was 3-5 times higher.

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