Cotton production target to miss by miles

Cotton production this year may continue to be at about 10.2 million bales and may be one-third less than the authentic target and may partly influence the overall national economic output that is estimated to remain below by about 3 percent. The lower production is due to the government’s inefficiency to tackle affecting cotton output, including the minimum guaranteed price. Crop yields are risking from rising temperature. The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee prepared its first appraisal of the crop production and came to the result could be approximately 10.2 million bales. The estimated output is only 340,000 bales or 3.4 percent than the past financial year a 14.2 percent increase in cultivation area. The National Economic Council had accepted the cotton production target of 15 million bales. The required considerate measures have not been taken to achieve the target. Pakistan’s economy is anticipated to grow at a pace of 2.4 percent in the current fiscal year, which is as reported by the Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund .The government hopes that a better cotton output would help raise the overall national economic output, which at present seems to be difficult after beginning appraisal. The cotton output has significance for both agriculture and services sectors of the economy. Pakistan’s annual cotton demand is assessed in the range of 13 to 15 million bales. The deficit in production will lead in cotton imports valuing between in the range of $720 million and $1.2 billion at present international prices. The Initial estimates proposed that against the target of 10 million bales, the production in Punjab may remain approximately 6.2 million bales, falling short of the target by around four million bales or 39.2 percent. Production in Sindh is estimated at 3.9 million bales compared with much the target of 4.6 million bales, which are 700,000 bales or 15.2 percent less than the target. In the same way production in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will be 50 percent of the official target.
Cotton production is anticipated to drop in spite of an overall 14.3 percent accelerate in cultivation area that stood at 2.78 million hectares this year. This shows that per acre yield, which has traditionally stayed approximately 22 maunds per acre, has dropped additionally. Federal and provincial governments have also been incapable to generate environment favorable for introduction of new seed varieties even after legislation of the Plant Breeder Rights Act 2016. Some member of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) was of the view that the evaluation was very much sensible and basic realities were very near to the forecast. Cotton growers have stress the requirement for price interference by the government in such a way that gains goes instantly to the farmers. Cotton prices are distressed and until good returns are secured to farmers, the production will keep going down.
The cotton committee will make a further evaluation of the circumstances after few weeks. The government is also having a rough time to offer a minimum support price to the cotton growers. Due to the conflicts among the stakeholders, the government has not yet reached an arrangement on the minimum support price. In spite of a low initial evaluation of the cotton crop, the government again said that cotton production would expand to 13 million bales. Previously guesses of cotton crop propose that cotton production will accelerate at minimum by three million bales in fiscal year 2019-20 from past year. These entire changing situations demonstrate agriculture was anticipated to recovery and rise more than 3 percent in the current fiscal year. The fine results in the agriculture sector would encourage development in large-scale manufacturing and exports of the country. The consequence of improved cotton production and subsidy schemes will have overwhelming effect on export growth and textile sector, which will support additional the current account and balance of payments position. The Farmers Bureau of Pakistan has pressed the government to impose agriculture and climate emergency to rescue the sector from the bad spot it is viewing at present. Cotton, rice and corn crops have completely destroyed because of the unpredictable weather, heatwave, loses control of seed trade and absence of promotion of new technologies in the agricultural sector. This year agriculture may record slowly even lower than the past year. The government should urgently ameliorate the policies; manage the seed trade, introduce seed varieties tolerant to climatic changes and promote the technology. The agricultural experts have stated Pakistan’s average annual temperature will rise between 1.5-2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, which will dramatically impact crop yields of wheat, rice, and cotton. Pakistan is not expected to produce the estimated 15 million bales of cotton during the 2019-20 seasons primarily due to lesser area coming under cultivation for the crop. Pakistan will have to spend huge amount of foreign exchange for importing around 2.2 to 2.5million bales to meet the projected shortfall. Last season the import bill for 4million cotton bales stood at $1.3 billion. The total area under cotton cultivation this season was achieved at 69 million acres against the target of 71.54million acres. This area is 14.3 per cent higher over 2018-19 when cotton was sown on 67.01million acres and a production of 10.07million bales was accomplished. The area under cotton sowing this season still is less than 73.17 million acres when the country produced a record 14.871million bales in 2014-15 season. The consecutive governments have failed on a number of accounts in accelerating cotton production which is a cash crop and could earn valuable foreign exchange for the country even on achieving higher production than the domestic consumption. Pakistan has very low yield of cotton at around 680kg lint per hectare against other cotton producing countries of the world have above 1,700kg lint per hectare. It is fine time that the government on a warpath should take required measures to accelerate cotton production by providing appropriate certified seed and also curb on those supply poor quality pesticides and other inputs to growers.

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