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India’s cotton import bill up 200 per cent


 Cotton import bill up 200 per cent

Driven by record high cotton prices amid a global shortage last year, India’s cotton import bill surged 200 per cent in the 10 months to January 2023. Imports picked up sharply between July 2022 and December 2022. India imported close to 1,750,000 bales in the second half of 2022 compared to 4,90,000 bales in the same period last year.

To ease pressure on the industry, customs duty was waived on cotton imports. Popularizing high density planting, farm mechanization, providing policy support to scientists and technology to increase productivity and giving a thrust to research-oriented agronomy are some other important way-forwards to increase India’s cotton productivity at least to the world cotton average productivity mark.

Stagnant production

While cotton prices have eased due to a global demand slowdown in the meanwhile, stagnant cotton production is especially worrying as prices of textiles have risen consistently over the last three years. Clothing and footwear were among the major contributors of headline inflation in fiscal year 2023. The Cotton Association of India (CAI) has reduced India’s cotton crop size to 33 million bales down by 9,25,000 bales from the earlier projection for the 2022-23 season in its latest outlook.

Global production is projected down 3,00,000 bales and largely attributed to lower yields in India. Consumption is forecast down due to lower use in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.


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