Pakistan: Falling cotton output

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CHAKWAL: The textile industry is one of the leading sectors of Pakistan’s economy. It provides employment to over 40 per cent of the country’s industrial workforce, according to a report published by the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan. Pakistan is the fourth-largest producer of cotton in the world, after China, India and the US. Pakistan earns around $12 billion annually from cotton exports and products.

This year, in the face of erratic rainfall, droughts in some cotton-growing areas and poor seed quality, cotton production has fallen from a predicted 15.5 million bales to 10.9 million bales, according to the Federal Committee on Agriculture, a department of the Ministry of Textile Industry.

Due to erratic weather, local cotton contains a lot of contaminations. Consequently, its ginning yield has fallen and production costs have increased. Bad weather is hurting both, the quality and quantity of the cotton that is harvested, leaving textile producers struggling.

I urge the government to offer reductions in sales tax to help the struggling industry. To deal with the worsening drought and falling cotton harvests, drought-tolerant and heat-resistant cotton seed varieties need to be introduced as early as possible. Cotton producers and the textile industry are suffering while the government’s polices are coming to naught.

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