India’s cotton exports will see a fall of about one fifth from the estimates due to the attack of pink bollworms on the crop.
India’s is the world’s biggest producer of cotton and if the country exports lesser quantities, rivals like the U.S, Brazil, and Australia will benefit and be able to export more to the Asian destinations like Pakistan, China, and Bangladesh.
As per the industry sources, the exportable surplus this year will be nearly 6 million bales. The industry officials were earlier estimating exports of 7.5 million bales of 150 kg each which will now fall due to the pest attack.
As there has been a 19% increase in the area of planted cotton, so the industry officials had estimated a record production of 40 million bales in the 2017-18 crop season (Oct-Sep). However, the farmers found out that the crop fields were infested with pink bollworms which consume the cotton fiber and seeds inside the boll, or fruit, of the plant.
This problem was mainly seen in India’s largest cotton-producing state, Maharashtra. The production may now fall to 37.5 million bales. This bollworm infestation happened even after the Indian farmers have adopted genetically-modified seeds that have been approved by the center in 2006. These seeds are known as Bt cotton which is supposed to be resistant to pests and helped India to be world’s second-largest exporter of the fiber. However, it appears that the pink bollworms are developing a resistance to this seed technology and infested the crops.