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India faces poor cotton prospects

India’s cotton crop this year may be the lowest in a decade. Deficient rainfall is the main reason. There has been no scope for third and fourth pickings and hence farmers have uprooted the plant. In fact, farmers have been advised to uproot cotton plants by the end of December 2018 to give room for rabi crops such as pulses and to ensure against pink bollworms.

Plant sizes were not more than four feet in October when the average is about five feet or six feet. Currently, there is no cotton plant on the ground in Gujarat. Those with irrigation have already planted pulses. Seed cotton (kapas) prices in India are ruling above the minimum support price, which is positive for farmers. Other factors that influence cotton planting in the next season is the excess global availability of palm and soybean oils. This situation may not encourage Indian cotton farmers to divert to other options in the next season.

Yarn demand is not that high, which may influence cotton pricing and post-harvest sectors. India’s 2010-11 crop was 34.5 million bales and the highest since that time has been 40.2 million bales in the 2013-14 crop year. Wide range data fluctuations affect the spinning sector, particularly in making decisions about cotton purchasing and stocking.