The area under Cotton in India is likely to fall to 10.2-10.4 million hectares this season, a shortfall of 10% as against 11.9 million hectares in the previous season and 12.8 million hectares in the season before, according to latest estimates from the Central Institute of Cotton Research.
Around 8.7 million hectares have come under the crop in the country so far, a shortfall of 1.4-1.5 million hectares that has been caused either by monsoon deficit in some parts or fears of the whitefly and pink bollworm attacks or a push towards other remunerative crops such as pulses, Soybean and oilseeds.
While the crop in Maharashtra and north India is good due to timely sowing, growers in Gujarat fear a pest attack due to monsoon deficit. As on 26th July 2016, an area of 2.037 million hectares has been planted with Cotton in Gujarat, down 16% as against 2.42 million hectares in the same time last year.
Cotton acreage in Telangana also shrunk to 1.12 million hectares during the period from 1.4 million hectare in the same period of the kharif season last year. The decline in sowing could partly be due to the State government encouraging Cotton farmers, battered by drought in the last two years, to shift to other crops.
The Central Institute of Cotton Research now estimated India’s 2016-17 Cotton production at 30 million bales, down from 33.8 million bales in the previous season.