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Price may be at record high this season, but cotton arrival in Punjab mandis slowest in five years

2021-11-22 10:23:37
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Price may be at record high this season, but cotton arrival in Punjab mandis slowest in five years

The arrival of cotton, the second biggest kharif crop in Punjab, has been slowest in the last five years, indicating a drastic fall in production this season.

Even as the price of the ‘white gold’ showed a record-breaking upward trend this season due to high demand in the international textiles sector, markets in Punjab continue to have lesser raw produce.

Experts attribute poor production to the pink bollworm attack in the cotton-producing districts of Bathinda, Mansa and pockets of Sangrur and Barnala district. According to the assessment made by the state revenue department and field inspections by the agriculture authorities, the standing crop in the four districts was severely hit.

However, the crop was not affected in other cotton-producing districts, Fazilka and Muktsar.

Quoting the ongoing arrival trend, state authorities say Punjab this time may find it challenging to touch even 50% of the 50 lakh quintal cotton produced in 2020-21. Punjab Mandi Board data shows 7.98-lakh quintal cotton was purchased in nine districts till November 18 as compared to 16 lakh quintal for the corresponding period last year.

In 2016-17, 9.16-lakh quintal crop was purchased in various mandis whereas 9.15-lakh quintal was recorded in south Punjab districts in 2017-18. More than 10 lakh quintal cotton was sold each in 2018 and 2019.

Officials said this is the only bad season since 2015-16 when the crop was hit by a widespread infestation of whitefly. That season, 6.38-lakh quintal cotton arrived in mandis till November 18 whereas the total production was about 21 lakh quintals. Cotton was purchased by private buyers between ₹5,300-6,195 per quintal that year.

This season, the crop touched a record-breaking rate ₹10,500 per quintal on November 1. Punjab Mandi Board cotton state coordinator Rajnish Goel said it is unlikely that farmers could be holding back the cotton stock as the prevalent prices offered by private players is exceptional.

Industry sources say there were strong feelers that rates would start dropping after the first week of November as cotton picking in southern states gained momentum.

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