Introduction

Cotton is the most important textile fiber used by man despite the expanding use of synthetic fibers. It is grown on around 33 millionhectares, producing around 19 million metric tons in 69 countries around the world. World cotton area has ranged between 29 and 35 million hectares between 1950 and the present with no apparent trend for either rise or fall.
During the last 15 years, world cotton production has experienced significant increases as a result of increase in productivity. Since early 1980, the average cotton yield has increased at the rate of 2% or 10 kg/ha per year. However, since 1991, the average yield of cotton has experienced a gradual decrease. It seems that the trend of cotton production in most of the countries has slowed down in the recent past.
Among the various reasons, non-adoption of new technological developments (hybrid cotton, BT cotton) could be one of the main reasons.
It seems that the available technology developed by researchers has been utilized in most countries. In cotton growing countries, the adoption of technology highly depends on the type of farms and farmers. In order to bring significant improvement in cotton yield, researchers have to develop new methods to realize a higher percentage of the genetic potential of the cotton plant.
Directed breeding in the form of genetic engineering and possibilities of utilizing non-species genes like in the case of Bt genes posses great hopes.
It is worth mentioning that 50% of the world cotton production is produced in the Islamic countries and cotton plays an important role in their economy and industry. Cotton provides fiber, fuel, oil and animal feed and almost every part of it is used. Cotton production and its related processing industries, therefore, play an important role in generating employment opportunities and enhanced national income.
Establishment of INCANA
Recognizing the importance of cotton production in a number of developing countries in Asia and North Africa, and considering the prime role and importance of cotton in the agricultural economy of these countries, producing more than half of the world's cotton production, Dr. M.H. Roozitalab, Deputy Head of Agricultural Research and Education Organization (AREO) of Iran and Vice President of the Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa (AARINENA), made initial contacts with Dr. R. S. Paroda, Chairman of Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and Executive Secretary of Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) ; Dr. A. Satybaldin, Chairman of Central Asia and Caucasus Forum (CAC); and Dr. H. Ketata Head of Tehran Office, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), during early 2002, and called for strengthening research collaboration among NARS. Following these discussions, an Inter-regional Workshop on Cotton Research was held at AREO, Tehran, Iran in October, 2002.
On the basis of the recommendations of the Workshop, an Inter-regional Network for Research Collaboration on Sustainable Cotton Production in Asia and North Africa (INCANA) was established. Through common consent, Cotton Research Institute of Iran, Varamin branch, was selected and given the responsibility for establishing INCANA Secretariat in Iran.
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Address: INCANA Secretariat Cotton Research Institute of Iran (CRII), Dr. Beheshti Street, Gorgan, I.R.Iran, Zip Code: 49166-85915

Tel.: (+98) 17-32336401
Fax.: (+98) 17-32227781
E-mail: INCANA@CottonNetwork.org