India’s cotton output pegged at 8-year low

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on February 08, 2019 Published on February 07, 2019

Water shortage in growing regions has hurt crop prospects

With a shortage of water in cotton-growing regions, India is staring at the lowest output of the fibre crop in nearly a decade. In its latest estimates, the Cotton Association of India has further trimmed the crop size by 5 lakh bales to 330 lakh bales of 170 kg each for season 2018-19 with a major loss in output in the key producing States of Gujarat, Telangana and Karnataka.

On Thursday, the CAI released its monthly crop estimate for January 2019, where it lowered the crop estimate for the third time in a row as crop loss weighed. The latest crop estimate for the year 2018-19 sees output at the lowest level since 2010-11, when India’s cotton crop was 332.25 lakh bales.

CAI data revealed that a sharp decline in output is projected in cotton heartlands such as Gujarat and Karnataka to the extent of 20 per cent each, while Telangana is to witness a 13 per cent dip in output. The association has estimated the cotton crop for Gujarat — the largest grower in the country — at 83.5 lakh bales as against 105 lakh bales reported last year.


All-India cotton output was estimated at 365 lakh bales for the year 2017-18, which, according to CAI, will be about 330 lakh bales for 2018-19, registering a decline of nearly 10 per cent.

From its earlier crop estimates for 2018-19, CAI has reduced its crop estimate for Telangana by 2.50 lakh bales, Andhra Pradesh by 50,000 bales and Karnataka by 2 lakh bales.

“In the Southern Zone of the country, farmers have uprooted their cotton plants due to moisture deficiency as a result of which there is no scope for 3rd and 4th pickings,” said Atul Ganatra, President, CAI.

The estimated crop size of 330 lakh bales is the lowest in a decade. Following this, India is set to lose its status of ‘numero-uno cotton producer’ in the world to China. The yields in India have also been lower, hurting crop prospects. As against China’s yield of over 1,755 kg per hectare, India produces just 485-500 kg per hectare.

During the first four months of the 2018-19 season (October 2018-January 2019), total cotton supply is projected at 198.80 lakh bales, which consists of the arrival of 170.32 lakh bales up to January 31 2019 and imports of 5.48 lakh bales. The opening stock at the beginning of the season is estimated at 23 lakh bales.

CAI has estimated cotton imports at 27 lakh bales, 12 lakh bales higher than the previous year’s estimated import of 15 lakh bales.

Overall estimated domestic cotton consumption is likely to be 316 lakh bales, which is 4 lakh bales lower compared to what was estimated last month. CAI has estimated exports for the season 2018-19 at 50 lakh bales, which are 19 lakh bales lower than the 69 lakh bales estimated last year.

Published on February 07, 2019
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