India's cotton output this year could be 10% more than estimates on account of extended monsoon, say scientists of Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR). The Nagpur-based institute is assessing the impact of the rains on the crop, and preliminary reports are encouraging for cotton growers and the textile sector.
"September-October rains have been good for the cotton crop. Since areas of all cotton growing states are receiving good rainfall of late, cotton output in the country is expected to go up by 10%; well above 340 lakh bales against the previous estimate of 310 lakh," Keshavraj Kranthi, director of the CICR said.
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have received good rainfall and extended monsoon this year. While most states received heavy rainfall till September-end, monsoon is still active in Maharashtra, especially in Vidarbha and Marathwada, known for cotton cultivation.
On the flip side, Kranthi said excessive rains, say 150 mm per day, will affect pollination process and disrupt spraying of fertilisers and, in turn, cotton production. After a steady rise over the years cotton cultivation in the country declined by 8% this year. According to Cotton Corporation of India, the acerage has come down to 118 lakh hectare this year from 128 lakh hectare in the last. Recession in the global cotton market has been cited as the prime reason for farmers shunning cash crop cultivation.
A large number of farmers had switched to food crops like soybean and other pulses for better returns. However, unseasonal heavy rainfall in the last two weeks has affected soybean, groundnut and pulse crops in some parts of the country, and experts say if the region gets more rainfall, there could be more damage.