Pakistan government revises cotton output target by 10.26 percent to 12.60 million bales for the current season of 2017/18 over an earlier target of 14.04 million bales as the countryâ€™s biggest crop producer Punjab fell short of targeted cultivation area for the current year as it was missed by 11.4 percent compared with the official target, which would translate into 12 percent drop in production. Water shortage was attributed as a main reason behind low acreage, officials said on Thursday.
The cotton crop size for Punjab is now projected at 8.80 million bales, followed by Sindh (3.70 million bales) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan with 0.10 million bales each.
The national target of cotton crop was set at 3.11 million hectares (7.68 million acres) with a production of 14.04 million bales. However, cotton sowing could be completed across 2.753 million (6.803 million acres) hectares as yet.
An official from Punjab agriculture department contended the numbers, saying accurate figures of area will be presented in the second cotton crop survey report to be released end of this month. He, however, said that the parameters for production, including plant population, bolls per plant and boll weight are more than the last year.
Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah said that there was sowing on 2.753 million hectares this year, up 13.9 percent as compared to the previous yearâ€™s area under cultivation. There was a major increase of 20.5 percent in Punjab province (5.3 million acres). Cotton production was recorded at 10.6 million bales during the crop year of 2016-17.
Departments remained proactive in training of farmers for the management of pink bollworm as well as leaf burning syndrome. Cotton prices are also encouraging for the farmers.
Area under cultivation in Sindh slid six percent during this year if compared with the target and production from the province is likely to decrease 7.5 percent during the current crop season.
Yet, an official from Sindh Agriculture Department said that cotton crop condition is good and second picking has also been obtained in lower Sindh. The targets for production will be achieved.
Hassan lqbal, secretary Ministry of Textile Industry said that government is taking all-out efforts to boost cotton production by taking supportive measures for all stakeholders. Iqbal said ministry of textile industry has taken measures for the establishment of National Textile University in all the four provinces for technology upgrade and skill development in the agriculture sector. He urged the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to establish a cotton ginning factory in DI Khan at earliest for facilitating farmers in cotton procurement.
An official of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association informed that crop outlook is encouraging due to timely sowing of cotton. The target set for the season would be achieved if the other conditions remain same as balls per plant grew significantly.
An agriculture official of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that around 1,800 acres of cotton crop has been cultivated in DI Khan. Government should provide quality seeds, fertiliser and pesticide at subsidised rates to farmers and make procurement arrangements.
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