The Cotton Association of India (CAI) has released the first estimate of the country’s cotton crop, for the current season (October 2017-September 2018), at 37.5 million (375 lakh) bales of cotton, each weighing 170 kg. Last year’s crop was 33.725 million (337.25 lakh) bales (170 Kgs each). The projected increase this year is due to a 19 per cent growth in acreage as against the last season.
India’s cotton balance sheet for this new season will record a surplus with a closing stock of 3.9 million bales. Exports this season are expected to remain at 6.3 million bales of 170 kg each (the same level as last year). Total domestic demand is expected to be 32 million bales. It is not likely that production will exceed beyond 37.5 million bales. Yields this season will be affected by an infestation of pink bollworm and unseasonal rainfalls in cotton-growing areas during September and October. Many farmers diversified to cotton during the kharif season (June-July) following stagnant prices for pulses and oil seeds. Cotton delivery has just begun hence the exact scenario of quality and production will be known only by the end of the month.