Cotton output may rise marginally


Cotton production may go up by three to four per cent to a maximum of 33.5 to 34 million bales following monsoon recovery in Saurashtra and parts of Maharashtra.

According to sources in the ministry of agriculture, the first advance estimate has projected cotton production at 33.4 million bales that may go up a little. The latest data will be released in another fortnight’s time.

On the other hand, the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB), under the ministry of textiles, will meet tomorrow to finalise the cotton production data for the current season. Officials said the first advance estimate was calculated on an acreage of 11.5-11.6 million hectares, which has gone up towards the end of September.

During the kharif monsoon season, major cotton growing states like Gujarat, Vidarbha (Maharashtra) and Karnataka received scanty rainfall that subdued the cotton crop. But, towards September the rainfall improved and acreage went up in Gujarat, said sources.

CAB, in its last meeting in August, has estimated cotton production to increase nine per cent to 35.5 million bales (of 180-kg each) in the cotton season 2011-12, beginning October. Total cotton supply, including imports of 0.5 million bales and opening stock of 4.75 million bales, is expected to touch 40.75 million bales against the total demand of 35.1 million bales. Despite expectations of higher output, export estimate was retained at seven million bales.

The country, till date has exported a total of around 13 million bales of cotton. However, due to rising domestic prices, imports also started towards June-July. Till date, a total of one to 1.2 million bales have been contracted for imports.

In 2010-11, the area under cotton cultivation in the north zone, including Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, was down seven per cent at 1.36 million hectares (mh). In the central zone that includes Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, it increased seven per cent to 7.22 mh, while in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (south zone) it was up 20.50 per cent at 2.45 mh. Cotton output in the north zone was down three per cent at 3.9 mb. It was up 12.85 per cent at 20.2 mb in the central zone and down five per cent at 6.8 mb in the south zone. Contribution from Orissa and other states doubled to 0.2 mb each, leading to a total production of 31.3 mb.

CAB, in its last meeting, did not make any crop estimates of cotton for the year 2012-13 (October-September) sighting severe drought in major cotton growing areas in west India.

Since then it was felt total acreage may fall to 11.03 million hectares.

Mill consumption for the current cotton year is low and estimated to be at 21.7 million bales compared with 22.1 million bales last year.

Non-mill consumption for the current cotton year is estimated at 1.6 million bales, the same as last year.

Total demand for cotton is estimated at 38.2 million bales against 33.8 million bales last year.