With a revival in the monsoon, sowing area under cotton although has intensified yet the overall sowing area under cotton was 44 percent lower at 5.6 million hectares (ha) as on July 18, compared with 10 million ha as on the corresponding date last year.
India's cotton output is likely to hit a five-year low in the resultant crop year 2014-15 (October-September), due to a steep decline in sowing area on delayed and uneven distribution of monsoon rains because of the El Niño phenomenon. Sowing of cotton was delayed by over a month this year.
The ministry of textiles as well as the ministry of agriculture, both have estimated cotton output at 30 million bales (1 bale = 170 kg) in the crop year 2014-15 based on the area covered under the cash crop as of now. These ministries cotton output estimates, however, represents a 17 percent decline from last year's production of 36.5 million bales estimated by the ministry of agriculture in the third advance estimate released on May 24. They believe cotton supplies will remain comfortable next season, according to Sources.
Meanwhile, the Cotton Advisory Board under the ministry of textiles has projected India's cotton output to remain at 39 million bales for 2014-15, marginally higher than the ministry's estimate of 36.5 million bales in the current year.
The decline assumes significance in the wake of continual pressure on cotton prices for the past three years. Given that the current lower demand from the domestic textile industry and China, India's largest export destination, are unlikely to spring back in the coming months, lower output will support cotton prices.
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