Mumbai: Cotton output in India, the world’s second biggest producer, may rise 11% to a record next year on higher yields from genetically altered crops and good rains, said the managing director of Cotton Corp. of India Ltd.
Output may total 35 million bales in the year from October compared with about 31.5 million bales this year, Subhash Grover said in an interview. An Indian bale weighs 170kg.
By the bale: Men bid for cotton at an auction in Rajkot, Gujarat
Higher output may boost exports to countries including China, the biggest user of the fibre, and increase competition for supplies from US and Uzbekistan. The estimate of state-run Cotton Corp., the biggest purchaser of the commodity in India, is higher than the 32.5 million bales forecast by textiles commissioner Jagadip Narayan Singh.
Yields are “steadily increasing”, and may rise 10% from this year’s 560 kg per ha, Grover said by phone on Tuesday. There’s an expectation of higher price for cotton after farmers made good money in the last years.”
Cotton prices in India have gained 38% in the past four months as growers and traders held back the fiber in expectation of a further increase in prices, Grover said. The commodity has gained 32% the past year in New York as US farmers reduced planting in favour of wheat and soya beans.
India’s average yield has almost doubled to 560 kg per ha since the nation allowed farmers to use modified seeds for the first time in 2002. Farmers sowed gene-altered seeds, including Monsanto Co.’s Bollgard II variety, across two-thirds of the 9.6 million ha planted to cotton this year, up from 50% a year earlier.
The area under gene-modified cotton may increase next year to about 8.5 million ha, or 80% of the total area, Cotton Corp.’s Grover said. “Monsoon rains have been more or less good so far this season and that should further help the crop.”
India received 113.6 mm of rain in the 1-18 June period compared with an average of 78.2 mm, New Delhi-based India Meteorological Department said last week.
India’s rising cotton output has boosted exports to countries including China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with overseas shipments expected to gain 47% to 8.5 million bales in the year ending 30 September, according to the nation’s Cotton Advisory Board.
Cotton Corp. has sold 1,73,000 bales for export out of the 9,85,000 bales it bought from growers this year, Grover said.