Cotton area seen up 10% in 2017-18 but harvest hinges on rain.

Cotton farming in the country is seen gaining ground next season as favorable prices this year have again stirred the interest of farmers in the fiber crop. The acreage under cotton is likely to increase 10% to more than 11 million ha in the season starting Oct 1, but corresponding production estimates depend largely on how the monsoon pans out. In the current season, the acreage under cotton had fallen 12% to 10.5 million ha on fears of pink bollworm infestation and whitefly attack, which had damaged a large quantity of the crop in 2015. Record high prices of many pulses in the previous year had also prompted the shift away from cotton. Cotton output rose marginally to 34.05 million bales (1bale=170kg) from 33.8 million bales due to a sharp rise in yields across states owing to conducive weather conditions.