The country had almost missed early cotton sowing target in the current season, which might hamper the commodity production in the upcoming year, informed sources revealed. Sources in the Ministry of Textile Industry toldBusiness Recorder that due to low prices of cotton, increased wheat support price and the ongoing unexpected spell of rain, early cotton sowing remained below the target.
Cotton production for the upcoming season is estimated at 14.1 million bales from eight million acres which is 5.7 percent higher than the last year. The country had estimated cotton production at 13.3 million bales from seven million acres for last season. Government had set the cotton production target at 14.6 million bales for the last season, but later revised it downward to 13.3 million bales following water shortage during sowing period, and floods and rain. About one million cotton bales were destroyed during the last season, officials maintained.
Officials said that decline in cotton sowing was recoded in Punjab and Sindh which were the major cotton production provinces. According to officials, cotton was estimated to be cultivated on six million acres in Punjab, however only 0.3 million acres has been covered till date which is less than the previous season early sowing by 50 percent. Further cotton has been cultivated on only 32 percent of the area in Sindh as compared to the preceding year.
Sources further said the government had increased the wheat support price to Rs 1,200 per 40 kg from Rs 1,050 for the current season which was the main reason behind low cotton sowing as farmers prefer to sow wheat. Cotton prices also remained low in the outgoing year, which is another reason behind the low cotton sowing. The country was witnessing an unexpected spell of rain in the current year, said sources, adding that also resulted in late wheat harvesting and land was not prepared for early cotton sowing.