Cotton output may dip 7% in 2012-13

Written by Neha Pal | Neha Pal | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 31 2012, 06:45am hrs
Cotton output in India, the worlds second-largest producer, will likely fall by 7% in the marketing year starting October due to poor monsoon showers in key producing regions of Gujarat and Maharashtra, according to textiles industry executives.

The countrys cotton production in 2011-12 has been pegged at 34.7 million bales, of 170 kilograms each, according to the data by state-backed Cotton Advisory Board.

Going by the area covered under cotton, we estimate that the crop size may be lower by 7% in 2012-13. Gujarat, which accounts for around 33% of the country's cotton production, has received scanty rainfall this year. So we expect the production to come down, SP Oswal, chairman, Vardhaman Group, told FE.

Poor monsoon rains have affected cotton planting this summer and also raised fears of a drop in yield despite a recent pick-up in sowing of the crop following good showers in August. As of August 24, cotton planting trailed last years level marginally at 11.15 million hectares, according to official data.

Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat, the countrys largest producer, have received 79% less than the usual rainfall by this time, while parts of Maharashtra, the second-largest producing state, have also witnessed dry spells.

The situation is somewhat likely to improve in Gujarat provided the state gets a spell of rain in the next two weeks, the industry executives said.

The area for cotton plantation has come down, which could result in lower output in 2012-13, said DK Nair, secretary general of the Confederation of Indian Textiles Industry (CITI). One of the main reasons for the reduction in area is that farmers have switched over to other crops following below-normal showers, he added.

Cotton production in 2012-13 is key to building up of inventories of textile mills as domestic stocks have almost been depleted due to record exports of around 13 million bales this year.