By Nayan Dave
With cotton cultivation already exceeding the 10 million hectare mark in the current kharif season, prices in the domestic market are likely to fall further.
At the moment, cotton prices hover around Rs 80,000-85,000 per candy (1 candy = 356 kg), said Atul Ganatra, president of the Cotton Association of India, adding: “In the wake of the increased area for cotton cultivation, we expect We further price correction At one point, cotton prices rose to Rs 110,000 per sweet earlier this year.
Sowing will continue until the second week of August in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, Ganatra said. According to him, at least 10% more is being sown compared to the 12 million hectares of the previous kharif season.
“If we look at the current trend, cotton cultivation in Maharashtra is expected to cover 4.2 million hectares. In Gujarat it would be about 2.7 million hectares. The cotton area in the north will be about 1.5 million hectares and the same will probably remain around 3.5-4.0 million hectares for the southern states, and the cotton acreage in Madhya Pradesh is likely to remain close to 600,000 hectares,” he said.
Although the cotton acreage in Maharashtra exceeds targets every year, production is higher due to a better yield per hectare. In Maharashtra, farmers produce an average of 2 bales (170 kg per bale) per hectare, while in Gujarat it is 3 bales. Apart from the northern states, most of the cotton growing area is heavily dependent on rainwater. In Punjab and Haryana, where 80% of the growing area benefits from the irrigation facility, productivity goes up to 4 bales per hectare, Ganatra said.
Avdhesh Sejpal, president of the All India Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Cake Brokers Association, said farmers are switching to cotton because they expect better yields compared to other monsoon crops. However, he said farmers should be vigilant as prices could fall below Rs 60,000 per sweet in October in the event of a record crop.
CM Patel, joint director of agriculture in the Gujarat government, said farmers are optimistic about the cotton crop as sowing has passed the 2.05 million hectare mark until July 10. At the same time last year, it was barely about 1.84,000 acres, Patel said.