India’s cotton import in the current season—October 2018 to September 2019—is likely to be 22 lakh bales, 7 lakh bales more compared to the previous season’s figures. The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) recently estimated this season’s provisional cotton production to be 337 lakh bales of 170 kg each. The actual imports can be 28-30 lakh bales when the season ends.

The board had estimated production in the current season to be 361 lakh bales in its previous meeting. However, farmers did not go in for the fourth or fifth pickings for various reasons and therefore, the production estimate was revised, said K Selvaraju, Secretary General, Southern India Mills’ Association, who took part in the recent CAB meeting.

Because of lower international price of cotton compared to the domestic price, both Indian mills and traders are importing, especially from Africa. There are offers for American cotton producers as well, J Thulasidharan, President of the Indian Cotton Federation said.

Meanwhile, cotton consumption during this season is expected to be lower at 361.5 lakh bales against 386.65 lakh bales last season. Exports are expected to be just 50 lakh bales though the board earlier estimated it to be 65 lakh bales. Consumption of cotton by the domestic textile mills has dropped as yarn production has reduced, Selvaraju said. If all cotton- growing areas are covered by the monsoon rains by the first week of July, production next year will be good, Thulasidharan added.