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Scarce rains and pest attacks in different cotton growing regions of the country is likely to lead to a fall of 15 per cent in the cotton output during the new marketing season beginning October 1, 2015, according to a report. States like Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have been affected by poor rainfall, while Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan have fallen prey to whitefly attacks.

In some pockets of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra with meagre rainfall, the production of cotton is expected to fall by 20 per cent.

In Maharashtra, Vidarbha is the least affected by rains, while Marathwada and Khandesh are the most affected regions due to scanty rains. A farmer, who usually gets over 10 quintals an acre of yield under ideal conditions, may get only 8 quintals this year, report said.

The situation in the state of Gujarat, which has received 28 per cent less than normal rains, is no better. The expected cotton arrivals in Gujarat are in the range of 8.5 to 9 million bales of 170 kg each during 2015-16 season compared to current season's 10.8 million bales.

The places affected due to weak monsoons in Karnataka are Dharwad, Bijapur, Gulbarga, and Belgaum, because of which the expected arrivals of the crop are likely to drop to almost half as against 3.2 million bales in 2014-15.

Early this month, reports from cotton growing regions of Punjab like Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, and Ferozepur suggested a damage of over 20 per cent of the cotton crop, due to whitefly attacks. Twelve districts of Haryana were also reported to be facing trouble due to pest attacks. The initial reports speculated a loss of 25 per cent at 4.47 lakh hectares of cotton area.

According to Cotton Association of India (CAI), cotton crop is estimated to be around 38 million bales in 2015-16. The cotton production has fallen from over 40 million bales in 2013-14 to an estimated 38 million bales in 2014-15.


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