India heads for bumper cotton crop amid concerns of weakening of price

By: | Published: August 7, 2015 12:12 AM

The country is yet again heading for a bumper cotton crop on the back of record sowing operations completed on around 110 hectares so far this year.

The country is yet again heading for a bumper cotton crop on the back of record sowing operations completed on around 110 hectares so far this year.

This has led to concerns in the industry on the possibility of weakening of cotton prices in the coming season   owing to a huge carryover stock of around 138 lakh bales.

“In the last four to five years, this has been the best sowing that we have ever had. Although there has been a brief dry spell in July, rainfall resumed again because of the cyclonic build-up causing rains. This season, there has to be highest ever yield,” KR Kranthi, director, Central Institute of Cotton Research, Nagpur said. The highest ever cotton crop has been in the year 2007 when the country produced some 567 lakh bales. In 2013-14, cotton production touched some 401 lakh bales.

“This time we could be heading for a cotton plantation that crosses some 120 lakh hectares,” Kranthi said.

Cotton sowing still continues in Andhra Pradesh and southern parts of the country and there has been rapid progress in southern Telangana. Among the 84 odd cotton growing nations, Indian productivity is at 32nd rank. This has been the case for the last 10 years, Kranthi pointed out, adding that yet India is the world’s highest cotton producer.

China comes second having reduced its cotton acreage to some 38 lakh hectares from 54 lakh hectares last year and US ranks third in cotton acreage with 33 lakh hectares under cotton. This year, after China stopped imports, there has been a glut of cotton in the Indian market with a carry forward stock of some 138-148 lakh bales.

“While, the yields seem to be promising, the worry is the price, which is on a down slide and due to this the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) may have to step in again to conduct Minimum Support Price ( MSP) operations, which could lead to some stress in the market in December-January period,” Kranthi said.

The Cotton Association of India (CAI) estimates total cotton supply at 453.65 lakh bales while domestic consumption is estimated at 315.00 lakh bales thus leaving an available surplus of 138.65 lakh bales.

“The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has procured about 87 lakh bales to provide price support to the cotton farmer. Unfortunately, the CCI has not been able to sell the entire quantity of cotton procured,” Dhiren Sheth, president, CAI said.

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