For first time ever, Maharashtra may beat Gujarat in cotton production

By: | Published: September 28, 2016 6:11 AM

Cotton ginners in Maharashtra are expecting a good season ahead, though cotton arrivals are likely to be delayed by a fortnight because of incessant rains in the Marathwada region.

Cotton ginners in Maharashtra are expecting a good season ahead, though cotton arrivals are likely to be delayed by a fortnight because of incessant rains in the Marathwada region.

This time, though there have been very heavy rains in the Marathwada region, the crop should not be affected and perhaps for the first time, and Maharashtra may overtake Gujarat in terms of production at about 1 crore bales, Pradeep Jain, president, Khandesh Gin/Press Factory Owners Association, said. Usually, Maharashtra produces around 60-70 lakh bales and around 20 lakh bales are sold to Gujarat. But this time, there could be a bumper production because of the good rains, he said.

Incessant rains in the last 10 days have brought relief to the water-stressed Marathwada region, which has been suffering from drought for the past four years. According to estimates by other cotton bodies, Gujarat is expected maintain production of 88 lakh bales in 2016-17. Maharashtra’s cotton crop is expected to improve from 78 lakh bales in 2015-16 to 87 lakh bales in the current crop year. Jain maintains that Gujarat may produce some 80-85 lakh bales because of delay in monsoons in the state while the crop has been good in Maharashtra and there have been no incidences of pest attacks so far.

“Cotton arrivals have begun in small quantities to the tune of 200-400 quintals, which is very less. Usually the season begins from October 1. However because of the rains, there could be a delay of 15-20 days for the new arrivals to begin,” he said. However, this time around prices are ruling high at R5,500 per quintal and farmers can look forward to getting good prices, he said. In 2014 and 2015, farmers had to sell at minimum support price (MSP), fixed at R4,100.

Jain’s association which has been working to getting better rates for Maharashtra cotton farmers plans to hold a meeting October 14 and 15, where discussions have been on cotton trade and where they have plans of displaying cotton samples of the region to potential buyers in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam. According to Jain, members of the association had also visited China a few years ago as part of this effort to study the requirement for cotton. Jain said a team visited Chinese buyers, traders, ginners, warehouses and provided samples of their cotton, which was tested by Chinese experts. This was followed by a visit to the Jalgaon region by Chinese traders and ginners and visits to farms. China has been the biggest importer of cotton from India until now. This time we are expecting good rates, he said.

Meanwhile, the Cotton Association of India (CAI) has retained the August estimate for the cotton crop for the 2016-17 season at 336 lakh bales, which is at the same level as that of the last month. The projected balance sheet drawn by the CAI estimated total cotton supply for the crop season 2016-17 at 398 lakh bales, while the domestic consumption is estimated at 309 lakh bales, thus leaving an available surplus of 89 lakh bales, CAI said in a statement.

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