The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service forecasts cotton cultivation area in Turkey to decrease to 350,000 hectares (ha) for the season 2020/21. The association also projects production to decline to 615,000 tonne compared to 740,000 tonne in 2019/20.
A major reason for this is the mandatory rotation rule of the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MinAF) which forced some farmers not to plant cotton this season or they would not have been entitled to subsidies. Another reason was that the Government of Turkey (GoT)’s 0.80 TL/kg subsidy established in 2018/19 was not increased for 2019/20, despite high inflation and the Turkish Lira (TL) losing value against major currencies. Low yields, unattractive cotton prices, inflated costs, uncertainty created by Covid-19, and better returns from alternative crops in addition to not enough subsidies from GoT and the fourth-year rotation rule are the major reasons for the expected decrease in planting areas.
Since the weather conditions have been better compared to the last season during both planting and growth stages, the production reduction compared to last season is lower than the cut in the planting area. Market sources indicate that there is no major pest problem seen in the Southeast Region (GAP Region), which seemed to be a problem last season.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) production is continuing to increase year by year and Turkey is expected to produce about 94 thousand tonnes of BCI cotton in 2020/21 according to the Better Cotton Practices Association of Turkey (IPUD). Although COVID-19 brought some European ready-to-wear/fast-fashion/textile orders from China to Turkey in January and February 2020, increasing the production of garments, utilization rates in the textile/ready-to-wear apparel industry dropped to less than 50 percent for three to four months. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service now estimates the domestic consumption of cotton to be 1.4 million tonne in 2019/20.