After much persuasion on the part of farmers, the Union government has allowed the export of cotton for the remainder of the current season, which ends in October.
India is one of the biggest producers of the white fibre. This year, it has been estimated that the country has a surplus of close to 5.2 million bales, almost double the earlier estimate of 2.7 million bales.
The story of not allowing cotton exports is similar to that of wheat, where a bumper crop and rotting grains went hand in hand. Fears of a shortfall ensured that by the time the permission for exports came, India lost the advantage it had in foreign markets. Hopefully, cotton producers will not face a wheat-like situation.
It is important that the government arrives at better estimates of the demand and supply situation in good time, or it allow the markets to determine prices in an unhindered manner.