By admin       2018-11-30

MUMBAI – In what seems baffling, in Maharashtra, though cotton prices are hovering near minimum support prices, procurement by the Cotton Corp of India has so far received tepid response.“Farmers have held back produce on belief that prices will rise for sure after Makar Sankranti festival (which falls around mid-January) due to a smaller crop,” said an official at Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation.The minimum support price for medium-staple variety of cotton is 5,150 rupees per 100 kg, and that for long staple at 5,450 rupees per 100 kg, both 1,130 rupees higher on year.Prices at Cotton Corp’s procurement centres in Aurangabad and Akola had been at intervention levels over the last couple of days. However, Cotton Corp could procure just a couple of hundred of bales so far at both the centres.“Arrivals in most centres in Maharashtra have not picked up as expected as farmers are hoarding the crop or selling it to private ginners and millers at higher prices,” a senior official at Cotton Corp said.In Maharashtra, daily arrivals on an average are estimated at 30,000 bales (1 bales = 170 kg), half of what was reported at this time last year. Cotton Corp has around 38 centres in Aurangabad and 29 centres in Akola. While the Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation, which procures the commodity on behalf of Cotton Corp, has 60 centres across the state.Though the Cotton Advisory Board has pegged this year’s crop at 36.1 mln bales, down 2.4% on year, most stake holders believe the number could be much lower, and prices would start rising once arrivals from the first picking dry up by the end of December. This has prompted farmers to hold back their produce for better prices in the coming months. “Procurement, has been slow as prices in many centres in the state are still above the support level, but (prices) are expected to further fall in the coming week due to supply pressure,” Cotton Corp official said. Mills, meanwhile, have been stocking up on cotton anticipating a fall in supply in the not too distant future. Farmers sold cotton at 5,800-6,000 rupees per 100 kg to private mills until last week. Prices have now eased to around 5,600 rupees, which is still 3% above the support price.

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