Pink bollworm infestation is pushing cotton production estimates down in India this year (October 2017-September 2018), due to crop damage in some of the country’s major cotton growing states.
Mumbai-based Cotton Association of India (CAI) estimated that this year’s cotton production would be 36.2 million bales (170 Kgs each), down from its December estimate of 37.5 million bales and February’s estimate of 36.7 million bales
In a telephone interview, a key market watcher in India stated that the lower estimate was expected, as the governments of Maharashtra and Telangana advised cotton farmers to remove the plants in January to avoid the further spread of pink bollworm in order to save Rabi and subsequent Kharif crops.
While the infestation has been serious in some major southern states, proactive measures taken in Gujarat and northern states after the 2016-17 infestation has reduced the seriousness of the pink bollworm problem in those areas. Cotton experts have requested cotton growing states to take precautionary measures now so that the issue will be under control in the next cotton growing season.
According to Atul Ganatra, president of CAI, “The lowered crop estimate is mainly due to crop damage because of severe pink bollworm infestation and scarcity of water in some states.”
While production is expected to be lower, domestic consumption in India continues to rise due to new spinning mills in Gujarat and other states, which have added 3.5 million additional spindles in India.