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Cotton production to fall due to weather, less land

2013-09-27 10:58 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

China's cotton production will decline in 2013 compared with one year ago due to a combination of a reduction in land used to grow cotton and bad weather in cotton-planting provinces, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said Thursday.

China is expected to produce 6.32 million tons of cotton in 2013, down 337,000 tons from the previous year, Xiang Yu, an official with the Department of Crop Production of MOA, told an industrial conference held by the China Cotton Association (CCA) Thursday.

The reasons for the decline include a sluggish cotton market since 2012 which has caused some farmers to stop planting cotton and unfavorable weather conditions, according to Xiang.

It is expected that the total planting area for cotton will have decreased by around 4 million mu (0.27 million hectares) to 65.85 million mu in 2013, he said, noting that low temperatures during the cotton seeding phrase, together with rainstorms and drought in some provinces during the summer have also adversely affected cotton production.

Industry insiders in Central China's Hubei and Hunan provinces, two major cotton-producing provinces, said their cotton production is expected to fall by 20 percent if the weather cannot improve in the near future, and cotton quality has been greatly affected by recent continual rainfalls.

However, the more signi-ficant factor affecting cotton production is a reduction in the planting of cotton, Wang Qianjin, an analyst at textile industry information website webtextiles.com, told the Global Times Thursday.

"The cotton market was at its peak time during the 2009-10 period, but the profits for cotton farmers declined over the recent years, and the farmers turned to planting other crops," Wang said.

Because of the government's cotton procurement for the national reserve, the price of homegrown cotton is now priced at 19,000 yuan per ton, 3,000 yuan higher than that of imported cotton, Wang said, noting that textile companies are more willing to buy -imported cotton, driving cotton imports high.

It is uncertain now whe-ther this year's domestic cotton production will see a big drop, Wang said. "But if a big production decline occurs, the government has sufficiently big cotton stockpiles and will sell its reserves to avoid market fluctuations, so textile companies won't experience a big cost increase," he said.

China began this year's cotton reserve-buying on September 9, and has purchased 20,000 tons of cotton as of Wednesday, Gao Fang, vice chairman of the CCA, said at the conference.

Zhang Xianbin, a National Development and Reform Commission official, told the conference that authorities are paying close attention to the market in order to sell its cotton reserves at an appropriate time to satisfy the needs of textile companies.

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