Drought Fears Loom Large in Cotton Growing States in India
The rainfall during this year's monsoon season in India, the world's second-largest producer, is about 22% below average so far this year.
July 23, 2012
Despite the recent market volatility that has caused so much turmoil in the cotton and textile industries, the biggest unknown remains the weather. In many parts of the world, few things are as important as whether or not it will rain. Unfortunately, the most recent wild card has been dealt to India, the world’s second-largest producer. Drought looms in six of the country’s cotton growing states.
According to a latest press release (July 20th) from India Meteorological Department, India’s rainfall during this monsoon season (June-September) so far is 22% below long period average. Northwest and Central India, which are important cotton growing regions have registered 39% and 26% deficient rainfalls this monsoon season so far compared to long period average.
Government of India is alarmed about the lack of rainfall in 6 states that grow cotton that include, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Karnataka. Indian agriculture depends heavily on monsoon and cotton is planted as a Kharif crop (June/July sowing) in northern states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana.
According to reports, Gujarat, the number one cotton producing state, only 35% of land has been sown till date and if monsoon fails in August, crop production condition will be severe.
Media reports quote Sharad Pawar, Union Agriculture Minister saying that India will take a look at unrestricted export of cotton, wheat and other crops in August if monsoon fails.