Pakistan: Country may achieve lint target of 14.10m bales


KARACHI: The country will achieve the cotton production target of 14.10 million bales during 2011-12 crop season despite damage to 2 million bales in recent rains in Sindh and Punjab.

According to cotton experts and growers, the lint production till August 15, 2011 stood at around 3.50 million bales while around 700,000 bales were at the ginneries in Sindh when the rains started. They said late crop picking in Punjab and Sindh was great hope that more than one million bales of cotton would reach at the ginneries by end of February 2012.

They said till January 2012 cotton production would stay at 12.8 million bales while imports of cotton would remain around 5 percent of the total output.

During cotton crop season 2011-12, the lint consumption by the textile sector of Pakistan would likely to stay around 13.5 million bales and hardly shortfall of 1 million bales would be met by making imports from USA, Brazil and India, fibre analyst, Shakeel Ahmad said.

Ahmad said however the buffer stocks and arrival of cottonseed in February 2012 would pave the shortage to great extent.

The International Cotton Advisory Committee in its revised forecast for 2011-12 said the lint consumption would grow by 2 percent and import by Pakistan and China would witness an increase by 7 to 10 percent.

Ahmad said biotech cotton could help lower the cost of production in some cases, but it is not appropriate in all production systems. The price in Pakistan remained around Rs 8,000 per maund to Rs 9,000 per maund while overall futures of New York market would stay at 145 cents per pound. He said around 95 percent BT cotton variety was sown in Sindh and Punjab, which gave better production and was also virus resistant to a greater extent.

Pakistan will still be able to export cotton despite rain-related damage to the crop this year, chairman-elect Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Amanullah Qureshi said.

He said cotton also received damage in Punjab due to rains, however, early sown varieties and seasonal cotton would translate into approximately 11 million bales this year in the province.

He said growers of districts in upper Punjab had also embarked on sowing Bt varieties of cotton this year. He urged the government to activate banks and insurance companies to hold a damage assessment survey, so that steps be taken to compensate losses suffered by growers. He hoped Pakistan would have yielded a bumper cotton crop, approximately 16 million bales, had there been no rain-related damage to it.

Qureshi said 20 percent of the textile sector was not operational in the country due to the crisis it was facing following the purchase of yarn at a high price. This situation is also hurting the ginning sector. He asked the government textile units were facing bank default or financial problems and should be provided with relief to keep the industrial wheel moving and enable workers earn their livelihood to feed their families.