Cotton consumption rises 4%, but worries multiply

Cotton consumption rises 4%, but worries multiply

The cotton sector in India has been making a steady progress.

The cotton sector in India has been making a steady progress. The acreage under cotton is estimated to have risen by over 10 lakh hectares to 129.71 lakh hectares in 2014-15 from 119.60 lakh hectares estimated in 2013-14, according to the President of Cotton Association of India (CAI), Dhiren N Sheth.

However, the acreage under cotton is expected to be lower in the 2015-16 season due to the lower realisation of prices by farmers for their produce in 2014-15. As per the CAI estimates, cotton crop for the 2014-15 season was 382.75 lakh bales as against 407.25 lakh bales in 2013-14. The crop for the ensuing 2015-16 season is also expected to be at the same level as in 2014-15. Cotton consumption in India is estimated to have grown by over 4 per cent to 315 lakh bales in 2014-15.

Export performance of the country in 2014-15 was below par and the country is estimated to have exported about 60 lakh bales in 2014-15 against 112 lakh bales in 2013-14. The country is estimated to have witnessed one of the largest closing stocks in the history as at the close of cotton season 2014-15.

India has surpassed China in terms of the production of cotton for the first time in 2014-15 to become the world leader. As per the data released by ICAC, production of cotton in China in 2014-15 is estimated at 6.48 million metric tonne as against India’s cotton production of 6.51 million metric tonne for that year.

The cotton economy in India has witnessed depressing trends in 2014-15. The cotton prices ruled substantially lower during 2014-15 than those prevailing in the previous cotton season and the country witnessed a massive support price operation. The Government agencies have procured about 93 lakh bales under MSP operations.

As a part of its cotton promotion initiative, the CAI also launched during 2014-15 a premium brand ‘Suvin Ratna – The Jewel of Cottons!’ to support the production of Suvin cotton in the country. Suvin Ratna is a carefully selected shirting fabric made from Suvin cotton conscientiously cultivated by Appachi Eco-Logic Cotton Pvt Ltd, Pollachi and expertly spun and woven by Morarjee Textile Limited by both its warp and its weft and containing 2/200s count yarn, which is one of the most exquisite count of yarn produced in the country. The CAI has taken care to ensure that the entire chain right from the farm to the fabric is fully traceable so that the end product can be certified to be made from authentic Suvin. Although, at present, Suvin Ratna is available only in white, CAI plans to incorporate other colours as well as checks and stripes in the fabric.

The continued efforts put in by the CAI in cotton developmental activities for the benefits of cotton farmers in Chopda (Maharashtra) and Raichur (Karnataka) through its research and extension wing, “COTAAP (Cotton and allied Products) Research Foundation” have started getting recognition and more importantly, financial assistance from the Government of Maharashtra.

During the year, the CAI has successfully conducted field level demonstrations (FLDs) of advanced technologies in cotton cultivation and post harvest handling. The area under cotton development in Chopda particularly high density planting of cotton undertaken under the PPP-IAD Project of the Maharashtra Government in association with Mahyco Seeds and Arvind Mills has increased to 1,000 acres as against 350 acres in the last year.

This has enabled the CAI to cover larger area under its cotton development programme and provide benefits to more number of farmers. Further, the CAI has implemented FLDs on integrated soil and nutrition management with a view to conserve soil fertility, COTAAP online to provide weather alerts and market rates of cotton to the farmers by sending daily SMS and various other activities like farmers rally,village meetings, farmers field schools (FFS), etc. for the benefit of cotton farmers.

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