The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of China, has forecast that this year's total cotton output will be around 6.3 million tons, about 540,000 tons lower than last year's figure, reports China Daily. The sharp drop in China's cotton production in 2013 is attributed to a combination of factors, including adverse weather conditions, decrease in cotton sowing area, and relatively lower prices of Indian cotton. The nation's cotton production this year has been affected by the cold weather during the cotton seeding season, heavy rains, and then a drought in major cotton-growing areas like Hunan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces between June and August, said Lu Huaiyu, vice president of the China Cotton Association. Nearly half of the 13 major cotton-growing provinces and autonomous regions in China were hit by adverse weather conditions this year. Decrease in area under cotton cultivation and lower prices of Indian cotton are the other two reasons for decline in China's cotton production this year, Lu said. China's total cotton-planting area decreased by about 4.2 million mu or 280,000 hectares to now stand at 66 million mu. It is because farmers switched to growing rice and wheat, as the government offers higher subsidies on grains compared to cotton. Meanwhile, the price of cotton imported from India is about 1,000 yuan/ton lower than the market price of domestic cotton in China, prompting textile mills to buy Indian cotton to reduce their raw material costs, according to analysts. Moreover, to save on customs fees, several textile companies in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces have also started importing cotton yarn from India. From an output of about 7.49 million tons in 2008, China's cotton production dropped to 5.96 million tons in 2010, and then it increased to 6.59 million tons and 6.84 million tons, respectively, in 2011 and 2012, according to the relevant data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Cotton Association. On the other hand, China's cotton imports decreased to 1.53 million tons in 2009 from 2.11 million tons in 2008, only to increase again to 2.84 million tons, 3.36 million tons and 5.14 million tons in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Source: Fibre2fashion News Desk -- India