Cotton Association of India (CAI) has released its April estimate of the crop for the 2016-17 season, beginning October 1, 2016. It has retained its April estimate at 340.50 lakh bales. The projected balance sheet drawn by the CAI estimated total cotton supply for the season at 410.50 lakh bales while the domestic consumption is estimated at 300.00 lakh bales, leaving an available surplus of 110.50 lakh bales.
According to the association, the arrival of cotton during April 2017 is estimated at 30.75 lakh bales as compared to 22.25 lakh bales arrived during the same month last year. The total arrival this season up to April is estimated at 306.25 lakh bales, which constitute around 90% of the total estimated crop. One bale of cotton is equal to 170 kg.
Sowing of cotton has begun on a strong note in the key growing regions of north India such as Punjab and Haryana, and in southern part of the country in Karnataka, for the 2017-18 season, Nayan Mirani, president, CAI said. Buoyed by the high prevailing prices, farmers are seen bringing in a larger area under the fibre crop and the seed industry expects acreages this year to increase by up to a fifth over the previous year, he added. Mirani had earlier maintained that monsoon would play a crucial role in sowing operations and helping farmers decide on which crop to opt for. Last year, we had seen some decline in acreage in north India, owing to pest attack and erratic weather. This year, the weather seems favourable and also the farmers are geared up to tackle any pest attacks,” he said.
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Though Mirani maintains that the cotton acreage will go up this year, the quantum of increase in the acreage will only be confirmed after the onset of the monsoon, predicted for later this month. While most industry experts have predicted a 15-20% increase in the area under cotton for the 2017-18 cotton season, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) has preferred a more conservative approach.
It is predicted that the area under cotton is expected to increase nearly 7-10 % due to higher cotton prices last season (2016-17). In the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, cotton sowing began on a brisk note and by May 15, 60-70% of the cotton sowing has been completed.
“Initial indications are that during the current season the cotton area sown would be around 6 lakh hectares in Haryana (as against 4.98 lakh hectares during 2016-17) and 4 lakh hectare in Punjab (as against 2.56 lakh hectares in 2016-17),” he said. In Haryana, farmers are expected to cut area under pulses as well as guar to grow more cotton, MS Ladaniya, director, CICR has said.