Pakistan: Government sets 6% higher cotton production target


ISLAMABAD: The government has set the cotton production target at 14.1 million bales for next season 2013-14, which is 5.75% more than the current year’s anticipated output.

For this season, the government had originally set the target at 14.6 million bales (each of 170 kg), but later revised it to 13.3 million bales following damage to crops caused by floods.

The Federal Committee on Cotton, which met on Wednesday in the Ministry of Textile Industry under the chairmanship of Textile Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan, set the production target for the upcoming season.

The committee, constituted last year after devolution of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, discussed its mandate including setting area and production targets, assessing availability of inputs especially water, seed, fertiliser and pesticide and amending crop calendar to ensure basic production data during the season.

According to a statement, the committee took into account the data provided by different departments and decided that in the 2013-14 cotton crop season 7.648 million acres would be cultivated, up 5% than the area sown in the current season.

A representative of Indus River System Authority (Irsa) told the meeting water level in reservoirs would be satisfactory during the cotton sowing and growing season.

The Meteorological Department, in a detailed presentation, highlighted expectations of normal and slightly above-normal rainfall and temperature in the cotton belt of Sindh and Punjab in the coming season.

High temperature in northern areas in mid-summer would lead to melting of snow and satisfactory irrigation water in canals for Kharif crops.

Fertilisers and pesticides would be available in satisfactory quantities as informed by the department concerned.

The Seed Certification and Registration Department told the committee that in the current scenario, certified cotton seeds would comprise less than 10% of total requirement of certified seeds.

In an attempt to stave off speculation on the basis of production data released by domestic and international stakeholders, the committee decided that provinces would carry out assessment of cotton output in October instead of November.

A representative of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) disclosed that the bank had disbursed about Rs16 billion to farmers to facilitate them in cotton cultivation this season.

Regarding participation of other banks, a Punjab representative said with the help of the State Bank of Pakistan, five major commercial banks would be starting “one-window” financing facilities for growers.