“An official with China Cotton Association said that the gross output of cotton nationwide recorded 5.7 million tons last year, down 9.8 percent or a slight decline of 0.62 million tons from that in 2004. However, total cotton demand last year reached some 9.85 million tons, intensifying the tension between supply and demand across the country . “Last year, China has imported a total of 2.57 million tons of cotton, up 35.3 percent from that in 2004. The roaring price of unginned cotton this year fired the cotton growers’ enthusiasm in planting cotton . “A survey by China Cotton Association over 2,283 cotton growers in 13 provinces and municipalities shows that the cotton-growing areas across the country this year are expected to reach 84 million mu (5.6 million hectares), up 9.4 percent from last year . “Source: People’s Daily Online .