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KARACHI: For the second consecutive season, the country produced more than 10 million cotton bales, with the current output of 10.727m bales showing a slight increase of 9.81 per cent from last season’s 9.766m bales.

Overall, around 958,739 more cotton bales have been produced so far.

With lesser area coming under cotton cultivation, the crop size has been shrinking — from 15m bales recorded in cotton season 2013-14 to round 10m bales for the last two seasons.

The fortnightly (April 1-15) phutti (seed cotton) arrivals data of the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association show improvement in cotton production in Punjab.

During the period under review, Punjab produced around 937,665 more bales or 15.62pc higher over the corresponding period of last season. In total, Punjab produced 6.940m bales as against 6.022m bales produced in the same period last year.

Improved cotton production in Punjab helped the overall production by 9.81pc at 10.727m bales.

Sindh also recorded nominal growth of 0.56pc in cotton production at 3.787m bales as against 3.766m bales recorded in the same period last season.

It was encouraging to note that the textile industry substantially purchased higher quantity of cotton at 10.259m bales compared to 9.058m bales lifted in the corresponding period last season. However, exporters managed to lift around 202,356 bales as against 362,141 bales in the previous season.

The fortnightly flow of phutti from cotton fields into ginneries also remained slow and only 1,445 bales were recorded to have reached the ginning units compared to 6,299 bales in the same period last season. Thus a shortage of 4,854 bales was recorded.

The ginners are currently holding around 262,597 bales of unsold stocks which are less than 349,776 bales held by them in the same period last year. Three ginning units are operational in Sindh while another four units are working in Punjab.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2017