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Indian Growers Look to Alternative Crops, Cotton Seed Sales Plummet

If the sales of cotton seeds are any indication of farmers’ planting intentions in India – and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be – the natural fiber will be losing some ground to alternative crops. That’s the conclusion drawn by an article published in The Economic Times, which reported that cotton seed sales are down about 50% from last year in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the country’s top two seed-producing states. Seed companies in India’s northern states have fared better but still suffered a drop of 15% in sales. Declining prices are the primary reason for farmers’ lack of enthusiasm for cotton growing. After two years of above-average cotton prices, the bottom has dropped out due to waning demand at the mill and retail levels, as well as an abundance of fiber in global stocks. The primary beneficiaries of the change are other kharif crops such as guar, soybeans and groundnuts. Making things worse for seed companies is the abundance of illegal seed flooding the market. Produced without an official license from whatever company has the patent on the technology, illegal seeds cost about half as much as the branded version, making them an attractive option for growers trying to reduce their input costs to make up for declining prices. Despite all of these issues, however, experts predict that cotton acreage in India won’t decline by more than 10% or so. Farmers with the ability to irrigate their crops might opt for groundnuts if the monsoon comes on time, but if the rains are delayed – or the farmers don’t have irrigation facilities – cotton will fare better, competing only with castor seed for planting space.

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2 comments on “Indian Growers Look to Alternative Crops, Cotton Seed Sales Plummet

  1. THE COTTON SITUATION IN INDIA IS VERY TRICKY.SINCE YEARS,FARMERS HAVE DEPENDED ON GOVT TO BAIL THEM OUT IN DIFFICULT SITUATION.THIS YEAR,THE GOVT HAS PUSHED THEM INTO A DANGEROUS SITUATION WHERE THE FARMERS ARE NOT EVEN ABLE TO RECOVER THEIR INPUT COSTS.ALSO ABUNDANT USE OF ILLEGAL SEEDS & ADVERSE WEATHER HAVE LED TO POOR QUALITY OF SEED COTTON & LOWER YIELD.SOWING AREA IS NO LONGER THE ISSUE.THE PROBLEM IS YIELD %.IT MAY TURN OUT TO BE AN S.O.S. SITUATION BEFORE THE END OF NEXT COTTON SEASON.

  2. I must report that the same is true in Pakistan.RAHIM-YAR-KHAN,the top producer last year with 14plus million bales,showing a return of cotton seed at the dealer outlets.As of June 7th,the last date to plant cotton,as advised by the extension department,only about 30% of the total cotton acreage has been completed.I my self,down to 20 acres from 40 last year.well the drop may not be as much as 50% like in INDIA,but the progressive growers are looking to other crops.I,am replacing it with ONION,GWAR,SPINACH,coly flower and six acres of corn.

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