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HomeIndiaCotton farmers stare at over Rs 4,700-cr loss this season, lockdown and...

Cotton farmers stare at over Rs 4,700-cr loss this season, lockdown and locusts to blame

Cotton Association of India has cut production estimates for the current season by 24 lakh bales — down from 354 lakh bales to 330 lakh bales.

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New Delhi: Cotton production in India is likely to witness a severe decline with losses to the tune of thousands of crores in the current season, according to estimates released by the Cotton Association of India (CAI).

The CAI Monday reduced its annual production estimate for this season, beginning from 1 October 2019, from 354 lakh bales to 330 lakh bales. One bale of cotton consists of 170 kg of the cotton crop.

According to a CAI official, cotton production in the country has witnessed a loss due to the extended Covid-19 lockdown and the worst locust infestation in decades, and this may only increase with time.

“Considering the current market price of cotton is at Rs 15,800/bale this loss stands at Rs 3,792 crore but if we take the price of January at Rs 19,600/bale, the loss goes up to Rs 4,704 crore. The prices of cotton started to fall steeply with a plunge in global demand and domestic business disruption due to Covid pandemic,” he told ThePrint.

The estimates by the CAI note that there has been a dip in production in leading cotton-producing states like Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, from 65.2 lakh bales to 61.73 lakh bales. In Rajasthan alone, production has reduced by 1.26 lakh bales.

In 2018-19, the cotton body had estimated production at 335 lakh bales, which was a decrease of 5.25 lakh bales than its previous estimate of 340.25 lakh bales.

The cotton crop has a life cycle of six to eight months, from sowing to harvest. The sowing season of cotton varies from April-May in states like Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where it is a kharif crop. In South India, the sowing happens late.

Also read: Why the worst locust attack in decades has invaded north India

Dip in demand, locusts and lockdown 

The domestic consumption estimate for the season 2019-20 has also been decreased by 52 lakh bales, from 331 lakh bales to 280 lakh bales, by the CAI.

Also, the carryover stock has been increased from 38.5 lakh bales to 50 lakh bales.

In Rajasthan, cotton crop spread across 1 lakh hectare has been destroyed.

“Due to dip in demand and prices after the Covid-19 lockdown across the country, the farmer who sowed the cotton crop, plucked it out without even cultivating the crop, to plant short-term Rabi crops to get whatever money possible. This has led to a further fall in the production estimate for the season,” added the official.

The situation was made worse by the worst locust attack in decades, which is predicted to have a devastating impact on India’s kharif produce if not controlled by the harvest season.

With low demand as well as a plunge in the commodity prices of cotton in both national and international markets, the locust infestation has further increased the troubles of cotton farmers.

ThePrint had earlier reported that farmers in Maharashtra’s cotton zone, Vidarbha, were struggling to sell their harvest after they had to resort to distress sale as unseasonal rains were affecting the quality of produce.

Almost one-fourth of Maharashtra’s total cotton produce, worth Rs 5,500 crore, remained unsold till the end of April, which is the usual procurement season of the crop.

Also read: Rs 5,500-cr unsold crop, lockdown, rain push Vidarbha cotton farmers towards distress sale


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  1. Less than 7% cut is cotton production has created 70% pain in the stomach of Modi haters. How miserable life Modi haters are living!

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