Even as farmers
seem inclined to bring more area under cotton
this year, they fear a decline in yield due to deficient rainfall
in major growing areas during the last three weeks.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast this year's monsoon — like last year — to be normal. But, despite being a normal monsoon by the long-period average (LPA), the distribution remained a worry last year. While the middle-, northern- and eastern parts of India received above-normal rainfall, the western and southern parts remained degicient last year. Experts have started fearing a repeat of last year, with reports of deficient rainfalls in large cotton-growing regions.
Farmers’ fear of a low yield this year assumes significance as they had received a record productivity and better prices last year despite lower acreage. Encouraged by last year’s realisation, farmers
have slowed down speed of cotton
sowing after over 50 per cent increase in acreage early this season.
“The crop is projected to get delayed by at least a month and the yield prospect also seems to get affected due to a delay in sowing. Strong enquiries have been reported from the northern region, though a delay in upcoming crop may prompt immediate bargains. The demand in cotton
bales has been good. Therefore, cotton
prices may rise further and may sustain the prevailing range of Rs 42,500-44,500 a tonne,” said Arun Dalal, a large city-based cotton
trader and exporter.
Private weather forecasting agency Skymet had reported a 4 per cent surplus rainfall
in June. But, it has forecast July to remain rainfall-deficient. “Rains over most parts of interior Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will remain subdued for the next 4-5 days. Gujarat, Rajasthan and western parts of Haryana and west Madhya Pradesh will also see scanty rains only,” Skymet said in its latest report.
Meanwhile, data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture showed sowing area under cotton
rose marginally to 7.2 million hectare (ha) by July 7 compared to 6.8 million ha by the same time last year.
during July and August are crucial for Indian agriculture. Hence, we will have to wait until the end of August before making any firm assessment on agricultural output this kharif season,” said Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Care Ratings.
According to Satish Kagliwal, managing director of Nath Seeds, “Any uneven distribution of the monsoon rainfall
or any climatic interruptions may affect cotton
yield this year.”
have increased sowing of cotton.
During most period of last year, cotton
prices remained above the minimum support price (MSP) unlike the case of oilseeds and pulses which continued to trade below the MSP almost throughout the season. Prompted by last year’s realization, farmers
have increased their cotton
sowing area by a staggering 45 per cent so far this season.
Data compiled by the Cotton
Advisory Board (CAB) under the Ministry of Textiles showed India’s cotton
yield at a record high last year at 568 kgs per ha compared to 484 kgs per ha for the previous year due to favourable climatic condition. The yield, however, remained abysmally higher than that of 566 kgs per ha received in 2013-14.
M Ramasami, Chairman of Coimbatore-based Rasi Seeds said that there was no shortage of cotton
seeds this year as most seed companies have already distributed their stocks to the stockists.
There has been a sharp increase in the sowing area under Bt cotton
which covers around 95 per cent of acreage under this natural fibre. However, despite being increase in the sowing area under Bt cotton, the average yield stagnated between 480 and 570 kgs since this innovative technology was introduced in 2002. Thus, the boom in cotton
production is attributed to the increase in sowing area as the yield from Bt technology stagnated after initial success.