KARACHI: The country has so far produced 1.186 million more cotton bales than the production recorded up to Nov 1 last year, which makes the 2017-18 target of 12.6m bales achievable.

The last two fortnightly reports by the ginners’ body recorded the year-on-year growth in cotton production at 50.88 per cent and 36.79pc. The latest report shows the annual increase of 17.07pc only.

This raises questions about the size of the crop. The early maturity of cotton plants due to excessive heat in Punjab may possibly have increased phutti (seed cotton) arrivals for a short period, directly impacting the production of cotton.

Reports about poor cotton quality are already doing the rounds. Cotton bolls opened up earlier than usual due to the heat wave, thereby adversely impacting the growth and quality of lint, according to Adil Naseem, director of the Karachi Cotton Association, who recently visited cotton fields in Punjab.

Although it can hurt the overall production, higher acreage brought under cotton cultivation this season may help growers achieve the production target.

According to the fortnightly report by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) for Oct 15-Nov 1, the cotton production stood at 8.134m bales, up 17.07pc from a year ago.

Punjab produced 4.658m bales, up 18.77pc from a year ago. The year-on-year increase reported in the two preceding fortnightly reports was 112.83pc and 54.89pc.

This means that Punjab has so far produced 736,230 more cotton bales on an annual basis.

Similarly, Sindh has so far produced 3.476m bales, showing a growth of 14.86pc over last year when the production stood at 3.026m. But the two preceding fortnightly reports showed cotton production growth was 24.56pc and 22.12pc.

Alarmingly, the fortnightly arrival of phutti recorded a steep fall to 2.149m bales from 2.573m bales.

Spinners have so far purchased 5.984m bales against 4.998m bales last year. Exporters booked 198,299 bales compared to 121,629 bales last year. Unsold cotton stocks held by ginners were 1.951m bales compared to 1.83m bales last year.

Another factor that points to rapidly falling phutti arrivals is that 723 ginning units are currently operating in Punjab against 736 a year ago. In Sindh, however, the number of active ginning units is 294 compared to 272 units last year.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2017

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