Cotton arrivals declined significantly in Maharashtra, the second largest producer of the fibre crop, forcing ginning mills to operate at less than 30% capacity as farmers held back stocks on expectations prices will rise. The daily all-India cotton arrivals are currently at 75,000-80,000 bales of 170 kg each, according to Atul Ganatra, president of the Cotton Association of India. “However, cotton arrivals in Maharashtra have been ruling low at about 7,500 bales per day against the normal daily arrival of about 15,000 bales a day around this period of the year,” said Ganatra. Half of the cotton comes from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, while the remainder is from central and south India, said traders. In Maharashtra, cotton arrivals have started from Khandesh region, while supplies from Marathwada and Vidarbha are yet to pick up. Trade sources said farmers are waiting for prices to rise to offload stocks, while ginners are going slow on purchases, expecting rates to cool once the prices of cotton seed soften with growing arrivals. Raw cotton prices have increased to Rs 5,850 a quintal in Maharashtra – more than the MSP prices for medium staple and long staple cotton of Rs 5,150 a quintal and Rs 5,450 a quintal, respectively. Ginning mills have been operating at 25-30% of capacity, said BS Rajpal, a Maharashtra-based ginner.