Cotton crop suffers major losses

As reported by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association till November 1, 2019 released Punjab suffered cotton production losses by up to 34.5 percent and Sindh by 18.15 percent. Past year’s cotton production was itself gloomy 10.07million bales. Compared with current season’s cotton production with 2018-19 cotton seasons would not give a just scene, specifically when Pakistan produced 14.96million bales in 2013-14. Leave aside from poor weather, recent locust attack in some cotton growing areas of Punjab and second interval of rains last week in upper Sindh has further worsened the situation. The present season’s results of cotton cultivation and production should be disclosure for the government, growers, ginners as well as textile industry. Pakistan requires fresh kind of cotton seed with high yield possibility and should also be temperature and pest endurance. The situation is gloomy that Punjab being the biggest producer of cotton suffered cotton production loss of up to 34.5 percent on producing 2.049million bales as against 3.123million bales produced in the corresponding period last year. Likewise Sindh being second largest cotton producer also suffered severely with a high cut of 18.15 percent in cotton production. The province up to November 1 produced 2.390million bales as against 2.920million bales produced in the same period last year. Pakistan has failed to achieve the cotton production target of around 15 million bales in the 2018-19 financial years, cotton output dwindled 17.5 percent year-on-year to 9.861 million bales. The figure was also 31.5 percent lower than the 14.4million-bale target. Provincial data shows that cotton production in Sindh, the second-largest contributor after Punjab, remains on the lower side since 2009-10, when the output hit 4.2million bales. The production stood at 3.5million bales in 2014-15, 3.7million bales in 2017-18 and 2.9million bales in 2018-19. Significant reasons behind the dwindling output are said to be the declining area under cotton cultivation and a fall in per-acre yield. Provincial cotton production has remained on the lower side since 2009-10.Production has been hit by adverse weather, particularly a delay in monsoon rains and long hot and dry weather. Cotton growers also deplore insufficient payments from ginners and mention it as a real reason why many cotton producers have changed to other crops for example sugarcane and maize over the last several years.
Climate change has impacted the cotton sector, and Pakistan should send scientists to countries having same weather patterns to see how they are performing well in cotton crops. Sindh’s growers have been cultivating Bt cotton a modified pest-resistant cotton variety for ten years now. The variety gave higher yields in the beginning household name in rural Sindh, especially in lower Sindh because of the region’s suitable climate for Bt cotton. But at present seed has perhaps lost its strength and is vulnerable to different pest attacks like pink bollworm. The federal government has formed a cotton- committee to find ways to revitalize cotton production. There is significant commotion over this season’s cotton output. Pakistan’s real cotton production can reasonably be anticipated at 10.2 million bales. As a crop, cotton holds 4.5 percent share in agriculture GDP and resultantly 0.8 percent share in overall GDP. In the supplementary sector, the cotton-based textile industries have a 21 percent share in large-scale manufacturing and consequently a 2 percent share in national GDP. For instance, in 2019 cotton output dwindled 17 percent year-on-year; but textile LSM showed a little decline of 0.19 percent. The problem of yield is due to a lack of proper seed markets in Punjab and Sindh. Seed varieties alone, will not be able to keep farmer’s faith. No one can deny the rising cost of agricultural inputs, particularly in the past two years. Cotton is a delicate crop compared to the options. Sugarcane and maize offer good returns at lower risk compared to cotton, but the farmers will possibly not focus to availability d of better cotton seed varieties. The substantial PKR devaluation in the past year and a half is anticipated inequities to address the pricing imbalances and give optimistic signals for next plantation period The policy needs to be on maintainable production of cotton, keeping in view the hardship of climate change as well as low competitiveness of the export-oriented textile sectors.
Cotton being the basic raw material for the Pakistan’s textile industry accounts for about 70 percent of the basic cost and therefore any movement in price or quantity of cotton has substantial influence on production and the farmer’s revenue. The PCCC report says that, the cotton production has accomplished a decrease of 32 percent for the year 2019-20 which has caused a loss of more than 2 percent of the GDP to the economy for this year alone. The significant of the textile industry can gain access from the fact that it is contributing $ 13.3 billion in exports, which is 60 percent of total exports, 8.5 percent in GDP and engages above 10 million people with large dependents in 2018-19. Unwise policies by successive governments have taken a heavy decline on cotton production and resulted in gradual decline of cotton acreage and yield per hectare. Cotton production planned for this year by the Ministry of Food Security was 15 million bales but requisite measures were not taken to accomplish the target and as a result only 9-10 million bales are forecasted this year. The estimated requirement of cotton bales by industry is more than 15 million and therefore 5 million are less. The production shortage forces the entire value chain to depend on imported cotton to meet the shortfall phenomenally increasing the import bill and adversely influencing the competitiveness of Pakistan exports. The other reasons are diminishing in cotton output include not availability of quality seed, pest resistant seed, outdated technology, water shortage, low profitability and absence of awareness of farmers regarding cotton production as well as competing crops.

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