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India Cotton Production Is Declining

India Cotton Production Is Declining

Cotton production in India is on the decline. 

Speaking at an international cotton conference in Mumbai on March 7, Atul Ganatra, president of the Cotton Association of India (CAI), said that India is estimated to produce 32.8 million bales (170 Kgs each) this production year (October 2018-September 2019) – 3.7 million bales less than last year’s crop of 36.5 million bales. 

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The CAI-organized conference – “Global Opportunities and Challenges in Cotton” – attracted key people in international cotton research and marketing, including representatives from the International Cotton Advisory Council, International Cotton Association, Texas Tech University, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and many cotton trading and related agencies from around the globe. 

CAI Director Arun Sheksaria stated that the timing of this conference is important, considering the uncertain trade situation between the United States and China. The conference program focused on the trade war situation, global economic climate and ways to enhance the brand image of Indian cotton. 

Ganatra said that deficit rainfall during September and October in key cotton growing states in India such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana is the primary factor in the decline in the crop, noting that there will be no fourth and fifth pickings. Also, Maharashtra and Telangana urged their farmers to uproot plantings last December to prevent pink bollworm infestations. 

Serious discussions focused on enhancing the cotton yield in India – a major issue faced by Indian farmers, as the average yield in India has fallen below the global average yield/acre. 

Commenting on current prices, Ganatra advised Indian mills to procure cotton now, warning that prices may go up as a cotton shortage is expected after June 2019. 

In all, India may end up with a stock of about 1.7 million bales, which will be less than last year’s ending stock.