NATIONAL

A dip in cotton production expected

Cotton production in the country is expected to see a sharp decline in the 2012-2013 season, according to Coimbatore Cotton Association president Kamlesh Raheja.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the association here on Sunday, Mr. Raheja said that after registering a sharp rise in cotton production for two years, officials in Gujarat expect a steep fall in production in the forthcoming season.

According to some reports, the production fall may be even 15 per cent. Sale of cotton seeds has been hit in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In north India, where the seed marketing season has just concluded, companies saw a 15 per cent fall in cotton seed sales.

Mr. Raheja said that farmers are shifting from cotton to other crops and during 2012-2013 (October to September), the cotton acreage is likely to decline with farmers in Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat opting for other crops such as guar, soya or groundnut. This is mainly because of the textile policy changes.

“The Indian government will play a crucial role to evolve a balanced textile policy that will benefit the entire textile value chain,” he said. However, even with lower production, demand is expected to be weak because of global economic uncertainties.

According to the Cotton Corporation of India, of the estimated production of 347 lakh bales of cotton this year (October 2011 to September 2012), 321 lakh bales had arrived till May, 2012. Though the consumption was just 252 lakh bales as against 267 lakh bales last year, the year is expected to end with lower stock because of huge exports.

Export demand was weak during the recent months and is likely to pick up in the coming days with China being the most important factor in the global demand and supply situation.

India may also import high quality cotton as the difference between Indian and overseas cotton prices have narrowed down now, he said.