Cotton farmers of Gujarat are expecting a lower yield and crop failure due to insufficient rains in the state thus far. The state has similar acreage of cotton this year as it was last year but at the crucial growing period many cotton growing areas, mainly in Saurashtra and North Gujarat are still dry and do not have enough irrigation facilities. According to farmers and cotton industry experts, it will be harmful for standing cotton crop if the state does not have good spell of monsoon instantly.
According to the state agriculture department’s latest data, as on August 6, 2018, cotton sowing has been done on 2.65 million hectares which was 2.64 million hectares in corresponding period last year. “Cotton crop needs immediate rain. It is a growing period and if rain does not come within a week, cotton may face big loss. This year, farmers had begun sowing late due to delay in monsoon. The flood situation has already damaged cotton in some parts of Saurashtra and South Gujarat. Yield of the crop will not be as expected in Gujarat this year in present scenario,” said Ramesh Bhorania, farmers and agriculture expert from Naranka village of Rajkot.
As on date, Gujarat has received 454 mm rains which is about 55% of the season’s normal average of 831 mm. Situation was much better last year. The state had received 662 mm rainfall that was 82% of normal till 8 August. “Gujarat is the leading cotton growing and producing state in India and any loss over there will affect the entire cotton trade of the country. Districts like Surendranagar, Kutch, Morbi and Banaskantha which are big areas of cotton have received very poor rainfall so far. All these factors will decrease the yield and may affect the price and supply too,” said Atul Ganatra, president of Cotton Association of India (CAI).
Ganatra said that average yield is about 550 kg per hectare in India. In its recent estimate, the cotton body has estimated cotton production of 36.5 million bales (a bale of 170 kg) for the entire season ending 30 September 2018. It has estimated 10.8 million bales cotton production in Gujarat. According to the CAI, as on 31 July, total arrival stood at 35.34 million bales across India. During this season so far, the country has exported about 6.7 million bales of cotton and by end of the season total exports from India would be about 7-7.2 million bales.