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Cottonseed Sales Set to Increase as Kharif 2023 Acreage Likely to Surpass 13 Mn Hectares

The seed business is upbeat about the prospects of a strong year in the cotton sector, thanks to high prices for fibre earned by farmers in the previous two seasons, which would be assisted by a normal monsoon, as anticipated by the IMD.

Shivam Dwivedi
Cottonseed Sales Set to Increase as Kharif 2023 Acreage Likely to Surpass 13 Mn Hectares
Cottonseed Sales Set to Increase as Kharif 2023 Acreage Likely to Surpass 13 Mn Hectares

"Everyone is very optimistic about this year because cotton is in high demand due to lower production. The domestic textile industry is increasingly demanding cotton," stated Ram Kaundinya, Director-General of the Federation of Seed sector of India (FSII). Cottonseed consumption is expected to rise to 4.8-4.9 crore packets (450 gm each) in the current season, up from 4.2 crore packets last year.

Given that two acres of land require three packets of cottonseed, sales of 4.9 crore packets (equal to 2.2 lakh quintals) may cover 13 million hectares (mh). Cotton acreage was 12.75 million ha last year. If farmers' saved seeds are added to the coverage in the following kharif season, the area might rise by 10%, according to industry analysts.

The IMD forecasts typical monsoon rainfall of 96% of the long-term average of 87 cm in 2023, ruling out any disruption owing to the likely appearance of El Nino. According to Kaundinya, the propagation of High Density Planting System (HDPS), which grows roughly three times as many plants as conventional systems, will require 10 packets for every two acres of land.

"It is in the pilot stage, and some targets have been set to cover in the upcoming kharif," he added, adding that the seeds requirement would not improve overnight. According to Agriculture Ministry data, cotton production in India climbed to 33.72 million bales (of 170 kg each) in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) from 31.12 million bales the previous year. However, dealers and a number of agencies are forecasting lesser output.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicts that India's cotton exports will fall by 500,000 bales this month to 1.8 million (US bales of 227.72 kg or 23.05 lakh Indian bales of 170 kg), virtually equal to the country's import prediction. Experts predict that exports will be around 20 lakh bales in 2022-23 (October-September).

Farmers have been gradually selling their products this season, anticipating higher prices. Their hopes derived on last season's record price of 12,000 per quintal for kapas (unprocessed cotton).

Kapas is currently fetching around 8,000 in agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) yards in Gujarat, compared to the minimum support price of 6,080. The benchmark price for processed cotton or lint is now quoted at 62,550 per candy (356 kg).

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