In its latest estimate for cotton crop, the top trade body, Cotton Association of India (CAI) has pegged India’s cotton output at 354.50 lakh bales (each of 170 kg) for the season October-September (2019-20), about 19 lakh bales higher from previous estimate of 335.50 lakh bales.
In a note, Atul Ganatra, President of CAI stated that the increase in the production estimates “is on account of increased pressing of cotton bales, which happened due to the aggressive cotton buying by CCI under MSP post lockdown that prompted farmers to bring thier raw cotton (kapas) to the market instead of carrying forward the same to the next year.”
Revising crop estimate, the Crop Committee of the CAI noted that cotton output is estimated to increase in North Zone by 3 lakh bales from the previous estimate. This includes one lakh bales each for Haryana, Upper and Lower Rajasthan regions. CAI has increased its crop estimate for Central Zone by 13 lakh bales including 7.5 lakh bales in Gujarat, 4.5 lakh bales in Maharashtra and one lakh bales in Madhya Pradesh. For Southern Zone, CAI estimates an increase in output by 3.25 lakh bales including one lakh bales in Andhra Pradesh and 2.25 lakh bales in Karnataka. As on July 2020, total cotton arrivals were reported at 345.40 lakh bales, as against the total estimated supply of 402.50 lakh bales till the end of the season upto September 30, 2020. Apart from the revised crop estimate of 354.50 lakh bales, total supply comprises the opening stock of 32 lakh bales at the beginning of the season in October 2019 and imports of about 16 lakh bales during the year.
However, CAI has estimated cotton consumption to further go down to about 250 lakh bales for the year. “There is a reduction of 30 lakh bales in the consumption estimate made now as compared to that estimated earlier due to the lower consumption of cotton on account of disruptions caused by Covid pandemic and labour shortage resulting there from,” Ganatra added.
Besides the estimated consumption of 250 lakh bales through the year, and estimated export shipments of 50 lakh bales during the season, India’s cotton carry-over stock at the end of the season will be at the record high of 102.50 lakh bales. CAI’s 31-member Crop Committee will meet in September to arrive at the final crop numbers and the cotton balance sheet at the close of 2019-20 crop year.