KARACHI: A huge shortfall of over two million bales in the Punjab is having its toll on the overall raw cotton production in the country which may not exceed 13 million bales as against 14.80 million bales harvested last year.
According to a fortnightly phutti (seed cotton) arrivals figures for Feb 1 to 15, further fall in the phutti arrivals in Punjab was witnessed resulting in a shortfall of 2.210 million bales or 19.27 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
The standing cotton crop in the Punjab was badly damaged by heavy rains at a time when plants were at the flowering stage and this resulted in massive shedding of cotton balls in major cotton growing belts of the province.
The latest arrival figures disclosed that only 9.257 million bales have been harvested up to Feb 15 in Punjab as against 11.46 million bales produced in the same period last year.
Cotton analysts believe that this is a big setback for the country’s economy as cotton crop worth millions of rupees had been lost and in order to meet the shortfall a huge quantity may even have to be imported.
However, cotton crop in Sindh after suffering badly during 2010-11 season due to heavy rains and floods, so far has managed to maintain a higher pace of phutti arrivals where 3.376 million bales have been harvested or an increase of 28.52 per cent over the corresponding period last season.
But higher production of cotton in Sindh could not fill the huge gap of over 2.210 million bales created by short crop of Punjab where the country’s 80 per cent cotton crop is normally produced. Last year Sindh produced 2.625 million bales only.
Consequently, the overall cotton production in the country is presently short by 10.37 per cent or by 1.460 million bales because around 12.633 million bales have been harvested so far as against 14.099 million bales produced during the corresponding period last year.
The dwindling arrival of phutti could well be substantiated by the fact that during out going fortnight (Feb 1 to 15) only 255,088 bales were produced as against 478,906 bales in the corresponding period last year thereby showing a huge shortfall of 224,818 bales in arrival.
Similarly, there is lesser off-take of cotton from spinners who so far purchased around 11.070 million bales as against 12.911 million bales lifted by them in the same period last year.
The unsold stocks of cotton with ginners also stood little higher at 1.288 million bales over the corresponding period last year when they held 1.182 million bales. Around 400 ginning factors are still operating with 367 in the Punjab and 33 in Sindh.