The Cotton Association of India (CAI) has released its first estimate of cotton crop production for the 2023-24 season beginning from October and pegged it at 29.5 million bales of 170 kg each, the lowest in 15 years. These estimates are down from the final production estimate of 33.6 million bales in the previous season and also the Indian government’s estimates of 31.6 million bales for the 2023-24 season. In northern Indian states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab, CAI has estimated the crop at 4.3 million bales.
In the central zone, comprising Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, production is forecast at 17.9 million bales. In the south zone, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, output is estimated at 6.75 million bales. “After 2008-09, this is the lowest crop and is mainly due to the 5.5 percent decline in sowing acreage and also due to the El Nino effect,” Atul Ganatra, President of CAI explained.
CAI expects yields to drop by 5-20 percent across several cotton-growing states due to unfavorable weather conditions. Additionally, cotton crops across North India have also been impacted by a severe pink bollworm attack which led to cotton seed production estimates being reduced from 6.2 million bales to 4 million bales. In its first advance estimates released last week, the Indian agriculture ministry had projected cotton output for the 2023-24 season at 31.6 million bales as against last season’s final estimate of 33.6 million bales.
CAI estimated that India will import 2.2 million bales of cotton and that opening stocks will be at 2.89 million bales. The total availability in the 2023-24 season has been forecast at 34.6 million bales and domestic demand at 31.1 million bales.