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After Years Of Decline, Cotton Production Sees Recovery

Before 2016-17, the cotton production in the country was on a decline on a year-on-year basis shows the data provided by the Cotton Advisory Board to the textile ministry

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The production of cotton in the country, which has been on a decline for two successive years, shows recovery in 2016-17 as per the latest government data. Compared to the highs of 398 lakh bales in 2013-14, the cotton production in India continued to slide for the next two financial years before making a recovery in 2016-17 with 351 lakh bales.

However, the figures for 2016-17 are provisional and not final. One lakh bale equals 170 kilograms. Before 2016-17, the cotton production in the country was on a decline on a year-on-year basis shows the data provided by the Cotton Advisory Board to the textile ministry.

However, the evidence of shrinking cotton production in the country has been supported in a report by Cotton Corporation of India in 2016. The report showed that the national cotton acreage came down from 128 lakh hectare to 118 lakh hectare in two successive financial years – FY 15 and FY16.

But the Central Government is confident that the cotton production for 2016-17 will surpass the levels achieved in 2015-16 and that the continued decline in cotton production was just a ‘mixed trend’ if analyzed for over a 10-year period. In fact, Union Textile minister is confident that for the current cotton year (2016-17), the overall production is expected to be higher than the last year.

The production of cotton witnessed a dip in the year 2007-08 from 307 lakh bales to 290 lakh bales in 2008-09, the data shows.

But this does not worry the textile ministry. Sharing the data on cotton production in the recently concluded Monsoon session of Parliament, the Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani said, “The trend is a mixed one over the last decade. While cotton production in 2008-09 declined over 2007-08, it increased continuously till 2013-14 with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.5 per cent. Thereafter, it declined for two years.”

However, Irani was confident that in the current cotton year (2016-17), the overall production is expected to be higher than the last year.

Elaborating the reasons for the decline in cotton production, the minister said: “This was due to untimely rains in Northern and Central region in 2014-15. In this period the cotton production reduced to 386 lakh bales as against 398 lakh bales in 2013-14. Also, due to white fly pest attack during the cotton season 2015-16,”she said. Irani maintained that the Pink boll worm attack in Gujarat region and delayed rains in Central and Southern region affected the production by around 12 per cent resulting in 338 lakh bales production during 2014-15. Irani said, “Deficit rains all across the cotton growing areas is yet another cause for the low production of cotton for the last two years.”

When asked to comment on the government’s enthusiasm and anticipation of better cotton production in 2016-17, Ashok Gulati, agriculture chair professor at Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations said: “We will come to know about the status of cotton production only when the real data from mills is made available. Till such time, I cannot comment on the matter.”

Based on India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report, with production of 6,106 million kg, India was the largest producer of cotton in the year 2016-17. The size of India’s textile market in 2016 was around $137 billion, which is expected to touch $226 billion market by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 8.7 per cent between 2009 and 2023.

Production of raw cotton in India grew from 280 lakh bales in FY07 and further increased to 351 lakh bales in FY17. During FY07-17, raw cotton production expanded at a CAGR of 2.3 per cent and during FY16, out of the overall amount of raw cotton produced in the country, domestic consumption totalled to 30 million bales; while in FY15, the domestic consumption of raw cotton stood at 30.4 million bales.



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