MUMBAI, March 20 (Reuters) - India's cotton arrivals from the new crop fell 9.2 percent in the current season that began in October, the Cotton Corp of India said on Tuesday, as farmers in key states held back their produce expecting the government to increase support prices.
Arrivals until March 18 fell to 24.17 million bales of 170 kg each, down from 26.4 million bales a year earlier, the state-run procurement agency said in a statement.
Farmers in the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the country's top two producers, expect the government to step in to support the prices which have almost halved in the past year on higher supplies and sluggish demand.
The country's cotton output rose to a record 34.5 million bales of 170 kg each in 2011/12, from 29 million bales in 2008/09, data from the state-run Cotton Advisory Board showed. (Reporting by Deepak Sharma; editing by Malini Menon)