Pakistan: Cotton crop season 2011-12 to achieve more than 15m bales


* Country crosses 10m bales production mark in first 7 months

By Razi Syed

KARACHI: The country achieved highest ever production in cotton by crossing 10 million bales in first seven months of crop season 2011-12.

According to Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), ginneries received 11.04 million bales till December 15, 2011 as compared to same period last year of 937,7263 bales of cotton.

Sindh MPA and former chairman PCGA, Rana Abdul Sattar said during this fortnight ending December 15, 2011, the country received around 1.66 million bales in excess with 65 percent share of Punjab growers. He said this became possible by using better BT seed, which shared around 98 percent of the total output. Around four and a half months are left for the termination of crop season 2011-12, he added.

The members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) said this was good omen for the textile sector that country was inching toward record ever lint production.

“Prices of cotton will be within the reach of all users and the government is advised not to disturb the free market mechanism of cotton sector,” advisor KCA cotton Committee Shakeel Ahmad said. The Ministry of Textile Industry and Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) should respect the stakeholders in cotton and textile sector by not dictating its terms and issuing bias data of crop estimates, Ahmad urged.

The CCAC estimated cotton crop to 12.22 million bales amounting to 2.078 million tonnes, which is a preliminary estimate and based on international standard bale weight 170 kg each. If this weight is taken into consideration the estimate increases to13.852 million bales.

The Textile Ministry was trying to favour some legislatures by asking Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to lift cotton prices as second player.

This will enhance cost of production of textile exports in the country besides the textile exports will face hard time to compete in the international market.

“They are simply sitting in rooms make estimates and always their estimates and figures always happened bias in past”, he said.

“The Sindh production is estimated around 4.8 million bales and Punjab production is estimated around 11.5 million bales during current crop season 2011-12,” Ahmad said. Cotton exports would be hurt if TCP interfere in the free market as the exporters were eyeing more than 1.5 million bales this crop year, he added.

The cotton prices would increase around 15-20 percent if TCP entered in the market, Ahmad maintained.

The government would also have to provide more than Rs 24.5 billion to TCP for the purchase rather the government should provide some relief to farmers who were deprived of billions of rupees premium amount lying with the ginners of the country, he asserted.

Ahmed said, “If TCP buys low-grade cotton, it will not find any buyers and will lose the public money.” TCP should buy medium quality cotton grade 1467 or Afzal A grade, which would attract the buyers.

Secretary Ministry of Textile Industry, Shahid Rashid and a TCP official said TCP would be asked to lift 1 million bales for around Rs 5,500 per maund.

Shahzad Ali Khan of APTMA said the sector was already facing short supply of energy, which was one of the prime reasons behind drop in exports. The textile sector, which caters around 63 percent of the total foreign exchange earning for the country cannot afford higher lint prices, he added.