LAHORE: The country has so far harvested over 7.7 million bales of cotton as Sindh produces almost equal to the total national lint production in the last year, while Punjab achieves only 44 per cent of the initially allocated target by Nov 30.

The data shared by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association reveals that so far 7,753,473 bales of cotton have arrived at ginning units across the country which is 81pc more than the previous year’s output. By Nov 30 last year, the total arrival of cotton at ginning factories had been 4,280,500 bales.

Of this, Sindh has produced more than 3.7m bales, a record 128pc more than the last year’s produce for the same period in the province. Punjab has yielded over 4m bales, which is 49pc more than the previous year’s output during the period but only 44pc of its allocated target of around 8.3m bales.

Textile millers have purchased 6,755,905 bales, while exporters and traders have picked 290,626 bales, while almost 125,000 bales have been exported.

Sindh posts record 128pc more yield

Sajid Mahmood of the Business Club Commodities says that the cotton figures for the current year may be better than last year’s, but the country will definitely not achieve the production target for the year.

He says that the “ineffective” role of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, non-receipt of the promised price to cotton growers, silence of the departments active before crop plantation to increase cotton cultivation by announcing a lucrative price to the growers are the issues that may affect future cotton cultivation in the country.

He believes that Pakistan may produce 18-20m bales of cotton but it is producing only half of it.

Answering a query, he says that there are many viable proposals for increasing cotton production and addressing the challenges of climate change, but the problem is their implementation. Without investing in cotton research and development and solving the problems of the cotton research body like Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, one cannot get the desired results.

“Without making the PCCC a strong apex body, we will be standing here for the next 10 years or maybe beyond.”

Cotton Ginners forum chairman Ihsanul Haq says extremely negative weather conditions coupled with the unusually lethal whitefly attack on the crop badly damaged cotton yield.

He claims that the crop had been sown on much less land than reported by the provincial agricultural authorities and the two figures led to less yield than the target allocated to the province by the Federal Agriculture Committee.

He suggests beginning the cotton year in Punjab from February-March like in the Sindh coastal areas that have given most of the lint produced this year as there were no rains during sowing and harvesting of the crop resulting in a better quality of cotton attracting foreign buyers too after many years.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2023

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