Pakistan has managed to produce in total 11.485 million bales up to Feb 15, as against 10.685m bales in last season and 7.49 percent more cotton this season (2017-18) over the corresponding period last year.
The nominal increase in cotton production is a strong indication that the crop continues to face multiple issues â€”including less cultivation area and lack of research and development â€” for the last three consecutive seasons.
For three consecutive seasons, the country has been witnessing a failed cotton crop form around 15 million bales in 2014-15 to around 10-11m bales but still no measures were taken to reverse the situation, cotton analyst Naseem Usman.
He futher added that it is encouraging that some improvement in cotton production has been made this season but it cannot be called an achievement because nominal gains and losses in a cash crop like cotton are of no consequence.
Mr Yasin Siddik, former chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), said that there was an urgent need for framing new agriculture policy wherein cotton crop should be given preference over other crops.
The cotton crop has suffered badly because growers are attracted by other crops particularly sugarcane and wheat. This has reduced cotton crop cultivation area. The crop has been neglected at every level for the last so many years. He stressed that was an urgent need to increase cotton cultivation area by banning sugarcane and wheat cultivation.
Research work should be carried out to create new cotton seeds with high yield and pest resistance qualities so that the textile industryâ€™s demand of around 14-15m bales could be met.
Shabir Ahmed chairman Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association (PBEA) said that these steps are needed as they will help produce exportable surplus and also slash the ever rising import bill of cotton and ease the balance of trade of the country. Above all, through value-addition maximum foreign exchange could be earned.
It is encouraging that Sindh recorded double digit growth of 12.32 per cent in cotton production at 4.252m bales compared to 3.785m bales produced in the same period last year. This means that around 466,472 more bales were produced this season.
Against this Punjab recorded 4.84pc growth at 7.233m bales compared to 6.899m bales produced in the corresponding period last season. This resulted in nominal rise in production of 334,015 bales.
However, in phutti (seed cotton) arrival during the last fortnight (Feb 1-15) there is a drastic fall as only 52,867 bales reached ginneries as against 50,627 bales in the same period last year. Overall only 2,240 more bales were produced during period under review.
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