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Cotton output likely to increase: Experts

At an online workshop organised by trade body Cotton Association of India (CAI) on Thursday, experts said even as excessive rains delayed first picking and dampened short-term prospects for the crop, increased water availability and high prices would encourage farmers to go beyond the conventional 2-3 pickings to four pickings this year. As per the experts, unseasonal rains in growing areas are proving to be a blessing in disguise as they might help cotton farmers go in for third and fourth picking of their crop this year and picking period may extend beyond November-December. To note, in recent past, raw cotton (kapas) prices topped crossed Rs 7,500 per quintal in Gujarat. This would lift the country’s cotton production, which was otherwise feared to drop amidst damage concerns due to erratic monsoon and flooding in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Cotton trade expects output at around 360 lakh bales (170 kg) for the current (October 2021-September 2022) season against CAI’s revised estimate of 354.5 lakh bales last season. Usually farmers remove cotton plants and divert to wheat or chana by November-end or December. But cotton rates are attractive this time, so farmer could continue with cotton for additional picking. Eventually, that would help recovery the damage caused by the excessive rains.