Agri Business

Late sowing may bridge gap in cotton acreage

Vishwanath Kulkarni/Rutam Vora Bengaluru/Ahmedabad | Updated on August 03, 2021

September-October rains hold the key to output, yield

A pickup in late cotton sowing mainly in the southern States such as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, besides parts of Gujarat could help bridge the gap in acreages witnessed, so far, in the ongoing kharif season. Attractive prices of raw cotton, which are ruling high due to the higher cottonseed prices is seen aiding the trend.

Sources at the Cotton Association of India (CAI), the apex trade body for the sector, expect sowing to go on till August-end across various states including Andhra, Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as the prevailing higher prices will attract farmers’ interest.

Ending stocks

Cotton prices are ruling higher at ₹57,000 per candy (356 kgs), despite season-ending stocks being projected at 95 lakh bales for the season to September. Higher cottonseed prices, which are ruling at ₹3,800-4,200 per quintal, are keeping raw cotton prices higher, attracting farmers’ interest. Trade sources said seed prices are pricier in view of higher edible oil prices.

“Despite a dip in area in Gujarat and Maharashtra, we are still positive as sowing is going on in the Andhra. Some area will be made up in Andhra,” said Y G Prasad, Director, ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR). He expects the overall acreages to be marginally lower than last year.

According to the Agriculture Ministry’s estimates, cotton acreages till July 29 was 110.73 lakh hectares (lh) compared with the previous year’s 121.25 lh, lower by 8.68 per cent. In North India, the acreage is 17 per cent lower, while in central India the deficit is 5.33 per cent. In the South, the acreage is lower by 12.6 per cent. The lower acreage is largely attributed to delayed rains, but trade expects sowing to go on till end August. However, yield and output will largely depend on rains during September-October. Last year, a crop of 75 lakh bales was expected in Telangana, but heavy rains during October impacted the crop badly reducing it to about 45 lakh bales, sources said.

Seen up 5% in Gujarat

In Gujarat, farmers maintain that some rainfall deficient pockets in the State will see cotton sowing as the monsoon activity resumes. This will further add to the overall cotton acreage in the State which was 21.77 lh as on July 26, as against 21.47 lh in the same period a year ago. "Most of the cotton sowing is over in the State. If there are some pockets yet to be cultivated, it will see only cotton or castor crop. We will see 5 per cent more cotton sowing than last year. The crop appears to be good at present," said Anand Patel, a leading ginner in the State.

Some planting is still happening in parts of Karnataka and Telangana, said Ramanuj Das Boob in Raichur, who sources cotton for multinationals in these States. “The acreage may be same or closer to last year’s levels. The crop condition is good in Central and Southern States and better yields are expected this year,” Boob said.

Trade sources in Maharashtra said at current prices, there’s hardly any buying happening as many of the mills have already covered their positions for the next 90-120 days. Also, there’s hardly any export happening as the Indian prices are higher.

Published on August 02, 2021

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