Ideally, according to industry experts, most of the ginning activity starts during October every year. However, this year, late arrival of cotton may force ginners to begin work in November.
“Generally we start ginning cotton during Navaratri festival that usually falls in October. But this year as demand is very low and shortage of quality cotton on time may delay our opening. Moreover due to irregular monsoon cotton crop have been damaged in most parts of Saurashtra region in Gujarat and as a result cotton season is late by 15-20 days”, said Bharat Vala, president Saurashtra Ginners Association (SGA).
According to Vala, ginners are also set to have a tough time in next couple of months as production is expected to go down due to shortage in raw material. “Whenever there is such a delay, farmers tend to stock cotton for higher return. Hence, ginners will have trouble in sourcing raw cotton,” he added. Cotton production in Gujarat is likely to be around 7 to 7.5 million bales in 2012-13 as against 12 million bales last year. Out of this, Saurashtra’s cotton production may not cross 3-3.5 million bales this year which is almost 50 percent less as compared to last year. Arvind Patel, vice president of SGA said, “There are hardly 70-80 ginners are working in Gujarat at present. Last year more than 200 ginning units were active this time. Ginning activity in the state is very low as arrival is short. It is only after October or in mid November that ginning industry will start in a full-fledged manner.”
Currently, about 6,000-7,000 bales of cotton arrive every day in Gujarat and is priced at Rs 33,000-33,200 per candy of 356 kg. Raw cotton (or kapas) is traded on Rs 700-775. According to industry players cotton price may decline further as demand in October is very poor.
Dilip Patel, president of Gujarat Ginners Association said, “There is not much difference between this year and last year’s opening cotton arrivals. But as crop size in Saurashtra area is expected to be down ginning activity may run slowly this year in that area.”