KARACHI: Dwindling trend in phutti (seed cotton) arrivals witnessed during the second half of current season (2013-14) has its toll on overall cotton production.

The output was initially showing a higher growth of up to 15 per cent but has now touched merely 4.82pc over the corresponding period last season.

According to official figures, cotton production up to Feb 15 stood at 13.242 million bales as against 12.633m bales, showing that only 0.609m more bales have been produced over the corresponding period last season.

The official estimates of higher cotton production and those of private sector forecasts could not be realised because of damage caused by pest attack to cotton crop in southern Sindh and floods and heavy rains in some cotton growing belts in Punjab.

There is growing demand from growers and textile industry that government should distribute certified cotton seed and also encourage the sowing of genetically modified seed.

Brokers Association Forum chairman Naseem Usman said cotton production is stagnant at an average of 12.5m to 13m bales for the last decade and there was urgent need that the government should take keen interest and come forward to check that quality seed is being given to growers for sowing.

During this period, he said, India has tripled its cotton production and is expecting a bumper cotton crop of about 38.1m bales this season which will leave a huge exportable surplus of around 1m bales after meeting domestic demand.

Pakistan needs to improve its cotton yield and other cash crops to meet a rapidly growing demand due to high population growth and deteriorating balance of payments, he added.

Cotton analysts said that Pakistan has so far imported around 1.7m bales, mostly from across the Wagha border, and if cotton production is not increased there will be higher imports which will put more pressure on country’s depleted foreign exchange reserves.

The fortnightly (Feb 1 to 15) phutti arrival figures issued by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) further disclosed that Sindh somehow maintained higher growth in cotton production at 11.03pc and so far 3.748m bales have been produced compared to 3.375m bales in the same period last season. This means that around 372,508 more bales have been produced so far.

However, Punjab, which produces around 80pc of cotton crop, registered much lesser growth in cotton production at 2.5pc and up to middle of this month produced 9.494m bales as against 9.257m bales. Therefore, 236,322 more cotton bales have been produced till Feb 15.

The diminishing trend in phutti arrivals could well be judged from the fact that during last fortnight (Feb 1 to 15) only 141,745 bales from cotton fields reached ginners compared to 255,088 bales in the same period last season. This indicates that arrivals were short by 113,343 bales during Feb 1 to 15 over last season.

Other details of the report disclosed that millers have purchased higher quantity of cotton at 11.762m bales over the corresponding period last season when they lifted around 11.07m bales. Similarly, exporters also purchased higher quantity at 353,369 bales as against 276,018 bales lifted by them in the same period last year.

The quantity of unsold stocks held by ginners is 1.126m bales compared to 1.286m bales held by them in the corresponding period last season. Around 130 ginning units are still operating in the Punjab and only 10 in Sindh.

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