KARACHI: Cotton production in the country fell by 33.52 percent during the ongoing season as changing climate, rains, pest infestations and sub standard seeds continued damaging the crop output.
The figures on phutti (seed cotton) arrival released by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Association (PCGA) on Monday showed that at least 9.279 million bales (150 kg each) were produced up to January 1, 2016 as against 13.958 million bales harvested in the corresponding period last season.
Ginners said that cotton farm produce was still facing negative effects of heavy monsoon rains and floods, which hit certain parts of Punjab and Sindh during the months of June and July last year.
“Prolonged cold spell and late harvesting of wheat along with severe pest attacks harmed the cotton crop yields in Sindh and Punjab,” said Shahzad Ali Khan, PCGA Chairman.
“The growers are using minimum pesticides or even using flawed ones to protect crops from bugs and viruses. Moreover, they are not increasing spending on other better quality inputs due to depressed cotton prices in the previous season,” Khan said.
They also expect the prices to remain stagnant for the current season, he said.
“The government should rescue farmers by ensuring better availability of water, providing certified seeds and encouragement to adopt improved methods of sowing.”
Cotton production in Punjab sharply fell 44.75 percent over the same period of the preceding season due to heavy pest attacks.
The growers in Punjab produced 5.574 million bales, compared with 10.09 million bales cultivated last year.
In comparison with Punjab, the province of Sindh reported 4.23 percent decline in crop production. It produced 3.557 million bales as against 3.867 bales in the corresponding season last year.
The spinners purchased low quantity of cotton this season at 7.271 million bales as against 11.457 million bales lifted in the same period last season.
The exporters also bought 355,426 cotton bales as against 391,465 bales last season.
The government has revised down cotton production estimate to 13.3 million bales (of 170 kilogram each) for current season (FY16), while growers have reported 20 percent low production in the first three months of the season.
The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCA) held on December 14 revised down cotton production estimate to 10.8 million bales (170 kg each) for the current fiscal year 2015/16 as against 11.3 million bales it projected in its last meeting held in November 2015.
According to CCAC, the production target for Punjab during FY16 was set at 7.40 million bales and Sindh at 3.40 million bales.
Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Chairman Naseem Usman said, “In the foreseeable future, cotton production will be 9.6-9.7 million bales.” The country could suffer a loss worth $6 billion in fiscal year 2016 due to import of cotton bales to meet the shortfall, he added.
According to a report, published by Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), the government, which holds 27.95 percent share in cotton, missed the annual production target of 15.1 million bales in FY15. Around 14 million bales were realised during FY15.
The Karachi Cotton Association reported traders bought 2,200 bales at Rs5,215-5,600/maund (37.324 kilogram) on Monday. They bought no cotton bales on Saturday.