As the trade is speculating a big fall in cotton output due to pink bollworm attacks in some states, even though there is little clarity yet on the extent of the damage. Prices have increased by Rs250-300 per quintal last week and it is likely to see jump in cotton prices by 6to7 percent in a week.
Various government and trade bodies have undertaken surveys to reassess the crop. A Maharashtra government official, who did not want to be named, said the fall in yields could be 15-20%.
The Cotton Association of India had pegged Indiaâ€™s 2017-18 cotton production at 375 lakh bales (each 170 kg). Cotton bolls are plucked multiple times and about 70% of the crop has already been harvested.
Losses due to pink bollworm were higher during the first pickings. However, now the research agencies have noticed an improvement in quality. Blaise Dâ€™souza, head of crop production at the Central Institute of Cotton Research in Nagpur, said that timely action taken by farmers by spraying pesticides has improved the condition and the next pickings may be of good quality.
Textile commissioner Kavita Gupta said that Maharashtra has been somewhat more impacted by bollworm. Telangana has also got impacted, while Gujarat has been minimally impacted. Some states like Gujarat have declared bonus above MSP, which will help the farmers.
Pradip Jain, president of the Jalgaon Ginning and Pressing Association said that from their earlier estimate of 400 lakh bales, the trade expects production to fall to 340 lakh bales. Concerns about crop quality have also impacted prices. Of late, instances of rejections of cotton bales by buyers have increased.
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