Gujarat may lose its position as the largest cotton producer this year as output of the natural fibre during 2018-19 is projected to fall nearly 48 per cent to 5.2 million bales (per bale of 170 kg) due to drought in most producing areas, said a senior official at the directorate of agriculture, Gujarat government.
“Groundnut output is also projected to be sharply lower compared to last year, as per the second advance estimates.
During the 2018 monsoon season, rainfall deficiency in Gujarat was as high as 34 per cent in Saurashtra and Kutch, and at 24 per cent in the Gujarat region with many areas facing drought-like conditions, IMD data shows.
Saurashtra, Kucth and north Gujarat are the main cotton and groundnut producing regions of the country.
Out of total 248 talukas in the state, 96 have been declared as drought-hit, with 51 being badly hit, the official told TickerNews on condition of anonymity.
This year, the cotton output in Gujarat is seen at 5.2 million bales, down from 10.11 million bales last year.
Though cotton was planted over an area of 2.71 million hectares, up from 2.62 million hectares a year ago, lack of irrigation facility has hit crop yield badly.
As per the state estimates, cotton yield dropped to 326 kg per hectare this year from 660 kg per hectare in the previous year.
Similarly, groundnut output in 2018-19 is seen lower at 1.94 million tonne, down from 4.06 million tonne the state produced a year ago.
Ground nut acreage shrank to 1.46 million hectares from 1.67 million hectares a year ago, but the yield dipped to 1,327 kg from 2,422 kg.
Meanwhile, India’s cotton arrivals during the current cotton season 2018-19 (October-September) fell to 12.8 million bales until January 17 from 15 million bales a year ago owing to poor output and late commencement of new crop supplies, said sources at Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).
Below normal monsoon rains hit the sowing of cotton, resulting in lower crop yield and output.
Late rains also delayed sowing and picking operations, said traders.
Cotton supplies in Andhra Pradesh decreased to 375,000 bales from 750,000 bales a year ago.
Karnataka and Odisha also reported lower supplies.
In central India, Maharashtra markets received total 2.7 million bales of natural fibre as against 3.9 million bales a year ago.
Cotton supplies in Gujarat stood at 2.4 million bales versus 3 million bales a year ago, while arrivals in Madhya Pradesh improved marginally to 1.2 million bales from 1.1 million bales a year ago.