Due to unseasonal rains coupled with the menace of pink bollworm, an insect known for being a pest in cotton farming, production of the fibre in Gujarat may be around 10-15% lower than the estimate.
“There has been plethora of complaints regarding pink bollworm menace in cotton growing areas of Saurashtra and North Gujarat regions of the state,” said CM Patel, joint director of agriculture of the state, adding though exact impact of the bollworm would be known after a month or so, it would definitely reduce the production of cotton. Before Diwali, cotton crop estimate was around 120-125 lakh bales (170 kg per bale), said Saurin Parikh, president of All Gujarat Spinners’ Association.
“We are expecting around 100-105 lakh bales, which would be around 10% lower than the original estimate. Farmers in the state are facing the double whammy of excessive rains and pink bollworm. But, it would be still higher than last year’s yield of nearly 90,000 bales.”
Gujarat accounts for almost 30% of total cotton production in the country. This ratio according to cotton trade experts would be maintained despite the adverse condition as sowing area of cotton in the state has gone up from 23 lakh hectare in the last season to over 26 lakh hectare.
Sources in state’s major Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) said in most of the APMCs in Saurashtra region, arrival of cotton started.
According to an estimate, nearly 40 lakh kg of the fibre arrived at these market yards on a daily basis since the past month. Due to unseasonal rain, the cotton crop is affected by higher moist. Even the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is not purchasing cotton having more than 12% moist in it.
As a result of it, farmers are selling their yield in open market at relatively lower prices. Against the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 5550 per quintal, the farmers are fetching around Rs. 4000 to Rs 5000 per quintal in open market, says a cotton trader in Rajkot.