Pak cotton production likely to increase by 14 percent this season

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2016-08-04 13:00:00 – Karachi

Pakistan’s cotton production is likely to surge by 14 percent to 8.0 million bales (480-pound bales) as extra moisture following heavy monsoon this year swells yields, during the current crop season of 2016/17, said the USDA.

According to the USDA, area harvested is estimated at 2.5 million hectares (mha), down 0.3 mha or 11 percent from last year while yield is estimated at 694 kilograms per hectare, up 28 percent from last year.

James Crutchfield at the USDA said that there is reduction in cotton acreage as growers had grown more corn and sugarcane this season as these producers benefit from tariffs that insulate domestic market prices from the international market, while cotton producers face lower prices and competition from cotton imports.

Yield is forecast to rebound this season as farmers exercise greater caution not to repeat last season’s attempts to lower input costs in response to low market prices.

In 2015/16 growers reduced pesticide applications which resulted in a 30 percent decrease in yield due to severe whitefly infestations. Yields in 2015/16 were 544 kilograms per hectare, the lowest in the past 17 years.

The country spent around $4 billion last year on cotton imports to support its ailing textile industry, after erratic rainfall and drought in cotton fields damaged cash crop.

Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world, behind China, India, and the United States, and has the third-largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India.

The cotton industry provides employment to some 40 percent of Pakistan's industrial workforce and the country also earns around $12 billion annually from export of cotton and cotton products.

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