KARACHI: The country’s cotton production plunged by 26.54 per cent, suffering a massive blow of 1.603 million bales up to October 15.

According to data from Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Association (PCGA), 4.440 million bales were produced up to Oct 15, down from 5.044m bales in same period last year.

Cotton alone accounts up to 4.5pc in the agricultural GDP and 1pc towards the national income. It also accounts 70pc of the cost in textile production.

The impact of this season’s poor production and losses suffered by growers is expected to adversely impact next year’s as many will shift to other crops, Gomomal, a grower from Umer Kot, Sindh told Dawn.

He further said that initially heavy rains and later gusty winds battered the standing cotton crop in Sindh where worst affected areas including Umer Kot, Kundri etc.

A leading ginner from Punjab, Mian Mahmood Ahmed said that the crop was first damaged by high temperatures at flowering stage and later by heavy rains, adding that growers have suffered financially and are now thinking to shift to other crops next year.

Besides the climate’s impact, he said growers also have to suffer at those who supply substandard seed and pesticides which results in high cost of inputs but a low production.

A leading cotton broker Naseem Usman said the government has to give extra attention to cotton to ensure supply of raw material to textile industry, which earns up to $13 billion in foreign exchange and is a major job provider.

He added that cotton production would not be more than 9m bales this season which means around 5m bales will have to be imported at an estimated cost of $1.5bn.

A staggering fall in production was recorded in Punjab where it dipped 34.37pc to 2.049m bales during the period, as against 3.123m – representing a decrease of 1.073m bales.

Similar situation was witnessed in Sindh as output declined by 18.15pc to 2.390m bales compared to 2.920m – recording a shortfall of 0.530m bales.

Due to a reduced crop, the number of operating ginning units also declined to 738 during the period, from 909.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019

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