Pakistan cotton prices ranged between Rs2,600 to Rs2,800 only for a brief period last month in lower Sindh region due to early picking and peaked at Rs3,200. After that the cotton prices continued to decline in Sindh while the picking of the crop would end latest by early next month.
Farmers get Rs2,400 per 40kg whether they sell phutti to middlemen or ginners directly. A major chunk of crop has been sold, and by mid October the remainder will be cleared by peasants in upper Sindh region which witnesses late sowing.
Farmers prefer terminating early sown cotton crop to free land for wheat cultivation for improved productivity. Farmers attribute the decline in cotton output to lack of governmentâ€™s interest in ensuring price stability.
The government does not curb unjustified weight deductions by ginners, or ensure availability of quality seed. It has also failed to check spurious pesticidesâ€™ sale. If these factors could be checked, farmers might be better off with whatever price they got.
According to former Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) chairman Mahesh Kumar, international prices of cotton are main cause of fall in domestic prices. The price of phutti ranged between Rs2,400 to Rs2,500 per maund in September.
The price of cotton seed has dropped from Rs1,800 to Rs1,000 per maund, and this has affected prices of phutti. Another reason, China which is the biggest buyer has reduced its quota of cotton import to just 4m bales against its past imports of 25 to 26m bales.
The growers argue that they would take interest in cotton or any other crop as long as it is profitable and once they lose the price charm they would switch over to alternative crops. Agriculture statistics relating to cotton sowing and production also indicate that growers prefer high delta crops over cotton.
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