Cotton arrival in Punjab mandis slower than last year

Published on Oct 06, 2022 02:21 AM IST

More than a month after cotton harvesting commenced in Punjab, the semi-arid districts are witnessing a decline in arrival by five times than the last kharif marketing season.

A farmer plucking cotton from a field in Bathinda. According to information available with the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board or the mandi board, various districts of the semi-arid region of Punjab recorded cotton arrival of 46,000 quintals this season by October 4. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
A farmer plucking cotton from a field in Bathinda. According to information available with the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board or the mandi board, various districts of the semi-arid region of Punjab recorded cotton arrival of 46,000 quintals this season by October 4. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
ByVishal Joshi, Bathinda

More than a month after cotton harvesting commenced in Punjab, the semi-arid districts are witnessing a decline in arrival by five times than the last kharif marketing season.

Market watchers attribute sluggish arrival to a plunge in the prices for the ‘white gold’ in the last two weeks due to the ongoing low demand in the international market.

They say farmers are holding back the non-perishable produce for higher rates.

According to information available with the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board or the mandi board, various districts of the semi-arid region of Punjab recorded the arrival of 46,000 quintals this season by October 4.

Whereas in 2021, different purchase centres had registered the arrival of 2.33 lakh quintals by October 4.

“On September 29, the average rate of the raw in Punjab was 9,050 per quintal that was dropped to the average rate 8,400 yesterday that was 2,020 above the MSP,” said state cotton co-ordinator Rajnish Goel.

For the 2022-23 kharif marketing season, the Centre has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) for cotton at 6,380 per quintal.

The purchase season of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) starts on October 1. CCI officials said it is unlikely that the central agency will enter the market for the second consecutive year as the private sector is buying the raw cotton at rates higher than the MSP.

A cotton grower from Bathinda’s Bajak, Baldev Singh said farmers are hoping that rates will improve in the coming weeks.

“Picking of cotton bolls has gained momentum and farmers will hit the market when rates improve. This season remained challenging for cotton farmers as the crop was affected by pink bollworm and whitefly. At the sowing time, fields in cotton-sowing districts were affected by water scarcity and in the later stage, several areas waterlogged due to rains,” said the progressive farmer.

In 2021, Punjab witnessed the first-ever infestation of pink bollworm that crashed cotton production drastically.

In the last kharif season, Punjab produced 22 lakh quintals of cotton, whereas, during the 2020-21 period, all seven districts of the state produced over 49 lakh quintals of white gold.

President of Indian Cotton Association Limited (ICAI), a body of those dealing in the export, spinning, ginning of cotton, Mukul Tayal said the industry expects production of 6 lakh bales or 30,000 lakh quintal cotton in Punjab.

“Unlike other cotton-growing states like Rajasthan and Haryana, cotton crop in Punjab was not on the best scale due to various reasons. Even as demand in the international market is low, farmers in Punjab and other states are likely getting rates higher than MSP,” said Tayal.

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