November 14, 2023 The Cotton Association of India (CAI) has released its first estimate of crop production for the 2023-24 (October-September) season, pegging it at 29.5 million bales (1 bale=170 kg), the lowest in 15 years. The estimates are down from 31.8 million bales last year, and the government's first advance estimate of 31.6 million bales for the current season.
“After 2008-09, this is the lowest cotton crop," said Atul Ganatra, president of CAI, attributing the drop to El Nino and a 5.5% reduction in cotton cultivation area.
CAI expects yields to drop by 5-20% across cotton-growing states owing to unfavourable weather conditions. Due to a severe attack of pink bollworm in north India, the crop size estimate has been reduced drastically from 6.2 million bales to 4 million. The trade body, which finalised the crop estimates at a recent meeting, expects to take stock of the situation at its next meeting on 15 November.
In its first advance estimates, released last week, the agriculture ministry projected cotton output for 2023-24 at 31.6 million bales against the previous year’s final estimate of 33.6 million bales.
CAI estimates India will import 2.2 million bales of cotton and that opening stocks will be at 2.89 million bales. The total availability of cotton in the 2023-24 season has been pegged at 34.6 million bales, against 31.1 million bales of domestic demand, including 28 million bales for mills, 1.5 million for small-scale industries, and 1.6 million bales for non-mills.
For the 2023-24 season, CAI has estimated a surplus stock of 3.5 million bales and exports of 1.4 million bales. It expects the closing stock to be 2.1 million bales for the ongoing season.
In northern states such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, CAI has pegged the crop at 4.3 million bales. In the central zone, comprising Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, production is estimated at 17.9 million bales, and in the south zone, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, output is estimated at 6.75 million bales.