Cotton Association of India Adds Metric Unit to Tables


A seeming mundane change in the format of a table can have concrete consequences for industry improvement. In a press note distributed world wide on May 13, 2013, the Cotton Association of India (CAI) reported Indian cotton production, supply and use in traditional units of lakh bales (100,000 bales of 170 kilograms each) and in metric tons in side-by-side columns.


The ICAC advocates universal use of metric measures in reporting cotton supply and use in order to promote international transparency and market efficiency. It has been a little over 200 years since the invention of the cotton gin, and the world cotton industry has developed as a composite of national industries with parochial systems of evaluating quality, measuring quantities and marketing both seed cotton and lint. These parochial systems work fine for domestic industries, but as an industry becomes more globalized, parochial systems, including units of measure, create opacity, not transparency. A partial list of units of measure commonly encountered in world cotton statistics is shown below.


           Movement toward universal use of metric measures help to improve industry performance. The side-by-side reporting in metric units by the CAI is applauded by the ICAC Secret