A 15-member delegation from the Bangladesh Cotton Association is slated to visit ginning units in Khandesh - a major cotton belt for ginners in Maharashtra - next week to explore possibilities of cotton import from the state.
Pradeep Jain, president, the Khandesh Gin/Press Factory Owners Association, said that this visit could mark the start of cotton exports from ginners to traders in Bangladesh. He said he had been in touch with the Bangladesh Cotton Association president Sultan Riaz Chowdhary on the issue of direct exports from cotton ginners in Khandesh. "Initially, the delegation had told us that they would be visiting Khandesh on January 12 but the final confirmation is still awaited," he said, adding that the association has also invited senior officials of the Cotton Corporation of India to be a part of the discussions between members of the Khandesh Association and those of the Bangladesh Cotton Association.
In a letter to the Bangladesh Association, Jain introduced the association as a major ginners association in the state with over 100 units. Khandesh is famous for quality cotton and highest in India cotton on drip irrigation and he goes on to say that the association has the capacity of 25 lakh bale (170 kg) production and ginning. Jain said there was a high demand for cotton from Khandesh and the association could offer 29 mm, 30 mm staple cotton , 3.8+ micronier , rd 75 and trash 3-3.5% quality.
Jain stated Bangladesh is a major buyer of cotton from India and therefore the two associations could have direct talks, inviting the delegation to Khandesh since the cotton season is in full swing. The objective in direct exports from ginners to Bangadesh is to offer better realisations to farmers from our end and also enter exports, he said.
Jain said that until now cotton exports from India were usually from major trading and export houses. This is an exploratory visit and the Bangladesh Cotton Association president has expressed interest in around 100 tonne (5,000 bale of cotton) from Khandesh. Since this could be the first deal, he said the association personally invited the delegation for talks and if this works well, it could explore better options next season. Bangladesh imports at least 35 lakh bale (170 kg cotton per bale) of Indian cotton every year.
In the past three months, at least 5 lakh bale of cotton was exported while an almost equal quantity was imported in the country. India is expected to produce 354 lakh bale this season. The Cotton Association of India has predicted export of 42 lakh bale and import of 25 lakh bale this year.
In the cotton year (October- September) 2019-20, India had exported 42 lakh bale of cotton and imported 32 lakh bale. The Cotton Corporation of India (Cotton Corp), under its MSP operations, is reported to have procured at least 21-22 lakh bale until date.
Currently, market prices are around Rs 5,000-5,100 per quintal on steady arrivals. Procurement by Cotton Corp has stabilised market prices. The minimum support price (MSP) of cotton is Rs 5,500 per quintal as a result of which the number of traders from Gujarat visiting Khandesh has reduced.
Traders from Gujarat usually purchase 10-12 lakh bale every season but this time, the numbers have sharply reduced to 1-2 lakh bale due to Cotton Corp procurement and the cloudy climate in the state, Jain said. Moreover, prices are also on the lower side due to high content.