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Indian cotton production to drop this season

India’s cotton production is likely to fall 4.7 per cent from previous season. Scanty rainfall and an attack of pink bollworms are expected to squeeze crop yields. Pink bollworms consume the fiber and seeds inside a cotton plant's boll, or fruit, and yields fall.

Gujarat, the country’s top cotton producing state, received 28 per cent lower rainfall than normal. The state’s fiber output is estimated to drop 14.3 per cent from a year earlier. In Maharashtra, the country’s second-biggest cotton producer, output is expected to ease to 8.1 million bales from 8.3 million bales due to an attack of the pink bollworm pest.

Gujarat and Maharashtra together account for more than half of the country’s total cotton production. The drop in output could limit exports from the world’s biggest producer of the fiber and in turn support global prices, which were hovering near their lowest level in more than nine months last week.

Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and Vietnam are key buyers of Indian cotton. In 2017-18, India exported 6.9 million bales of cotton. Demand for Indian cotton happens to be robust this year from China as a trade war is prompting the world's top consumer to avoid imports from the United States.