Islamabad, Pakistan – International The News reports that Pakistan’s cotton production dropped 33.85 percent to 9.727 million bales during this season to March 1, as pest attacks, inferior inputs and lowering yields continued to hit the crop. The country produced 14.705 million bales in the same period of last year.According to figures issued by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), cotton output reduced to 5.951 million bales in Punjab from 10.741 million bales harvested a year earlier. Sindh’s production fell marginally to 3.766 million bales, compared with 3.964 million bales last year.
Ginners said cotton production remained static at 13-14 million bales over the past few years. Heavy rains and poor seeds have taken toll on the cotton crop across the growing regions of Pakistan. “A price slump amid global slowdown is hitting cotton harder than many other commodities,” said Shahzad Ali Khan, Chairman PCGA. “The lower prices have not only led many farmers to plant less cotton, but prompted the textile industry to rely on more imports,” Khan said.
Cotton analysts said the spinners and millers were importing raw cotton and yarn from India, Brazil and the United States following crop shortfall. Domestic consumption of cotton is more than 15 million bales a year. “Farmer and ginners are strictly at the mercy of the domestic and global markets,” Khan said. “It’s going to be very difficult for cotton producers and ginners given the challenges they both are facing.”
PCGA is seeking stimulus from the government to increase cotton production in the country. “We have demanded the government to provide quality seeds to growers in order to improve crop output,” Khan said. He also said that a ban should be imposed on import of cotton till the next arrival of the crop.
The PCGA data showed that the unsold stocks held with the ginners for the fortnight period ended March 1 stood at 0.8 million bales. The government reduced the cotton output target for the next season. The government has fixed cotton production target for 2016/17 at 14.101 million bales, which is lower from the 15 million bales set for the current season.
Cotton crop for the current fiscal year is estimated at 10.9 million (170 kg) bales, falling well below the target of 15 million bales. However, a report from the United Sates Department of Agriculture stated, “Cotton crop prospects continue to erode and Pakistan’s 2015/16 production is estimated at 7.5 million bales – the lowest since 1999.
Source: International The News