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India to have uniform cotton weights

India may have a uniform unit of weight for cotton trade. One recommendation is buying should be in kilos or tons only since this would make pricing accurate. The step is a move towards more uniformity and transparency in the cotton trade. Different units of weight cause ambiguity and confusion for the exporters, who have to plan their purchases. Export orders have a plus or minus five per cent variation in the weight and one isn’t sure exactly how much cotton will be there in a bale — 160 kg or 165 kg.

So far, cotton has been traded in different weight units at different parts of the value chain in different growing regions in the country. Gujarat, the largest cotton producer, uses bales for cotton procurement from markets while kapas (raw, unginned cotton) is weighed in quintals. Ginned cotton is quoted in candies.

While farmers get the price based on quintal weight, the procurement at the market or mandis is quoted in bales. Nowhere in the world is cotton procurement quoted in bales. While the weight in India has been fixed at 170 kg for a bale, many states still have bales with 160 to 165 kg. Ginned cotton is quoted in candy, while exports take place in terms of tons.