Pink bollworm infestation is influencing the cotton production in India, this year (October 2017-September 2018). Since December 2017 estimate, cotton production has been revised downwards due to crop damage in some major cotton growing States. Mumbai-based Cotton Association of India (CAI) estimated that this year’s cotton production would be 36.2 mn bales (170 Kgs each) as against its December estimate of 37.5 mn bales. Last month, CAI estimated the crop to be 36.7 mn bales. According to 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 furthering and spreading of pink bollworm infestation 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 2016-17 infestation the issue has been less serious there. 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 the production is expected to be lower, good news is that domestic consumption in India is on the rise due to new spinning mills in Gujarat and other States which has resulted in 3.5 mn additional spindles in India.