A whopping increase of 7 lakh in cotton import is no less than extraordinary! The current season (October 2018 to September 2019) may in all probability see the import of cotton reach somewhere around 22 lakh bales, which will be 7 lakh higher than the previous season.
This was confirmed by the Cotton Advisory Board. The Board also said that the cotton production is likely to be 337 lakh bales of 170 kg each, but there are various reasons for the growth in import.
“Though the area under cotton has been almost the same for the last two years, productivity has dropped. The board, in its previous meeting, estimated production in the current season to be 361 lakh bales. However, it is learnt that farmers did not go in for the fourth or fifth pickings for various reasons. Hence, the production estimate was revised,” said K. Selvaraju, Secretary General, Southern India Mills’ Association.
He further added “In our estimate, the actual imports can be between 28 lakh bales and 30 lakh bales when the season ends. The board has estimated it to be 22 lakh bales.”
Apart from the lower production of cotton in the country, the low international prices have led to a surge in demand for imports. Not only mills, but also the traders are looking to import from Africa and America, as told by J. Thulasidharan, President of Indian Cotton Federation.
Meanwhile, cotton consumption during the current season is expected to be lower at 361.5 lakh bales as against 386.65 lakh bales last season. Exports are expected to be just 50 lakh bales though the board earlier estimated it to be 65 lakh bales. Consumption of cotton by the domestic textile mills has dropped as yarn production has reduced.
“Prices of cotton in the domestic market have remained largely stable though it is higher than international prices, and the season is likely to end with adequate closing stock (nearly 40 lakh bales). If all the cotton-growing areas are covered by the monsoon rains by the first week of July, production next year will be good,” Thulasidharan said.