LAHORE: New cotton ginning season has started in the country, though partially, as one ginning unit each has become operational in Sindh and Punjab, while more are to come on line in the next few days.

Reports say partial picking of cotton has started in some coastal areas of Sindh and in southern Punjab and arrival of raw cotton in the market is gaining momentum with each passing day. The volume is quite lower than that of last year during the same days.

One ginning unit has become operational in Hyderabad and one in Burewala (Punjab) as the farmers are mostly worried and engaged about their recently harvested wheat crop ignoring cotton, while the government is delaying the announcement of cotton intervention price.

Cotton picking is beginning to gain momentum in lower Sindh areas and it is being offered a rate between Rs9,500 and Rs10,700 per 40kg.

Reports from the field say that higher temperatures are obstructing efforts to sow cotton, while in the name of the so-called financial crisis in the sector, textile mills have blocked payments worth billions of rupees.

A meeting between the representatives of the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) and All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association was held a few days ago which remained confined to exchange of suggestions for improvement in the current situation.

Abid Zaidi, a cotton expert, regrets that APTMA leadership did not show seriousness in the meeting. In a statement, he said that the ginners rightly complained that the textile mills would import cotton at higher prices but would not pay better rates for local premium quality lint.

He regretted that up to 8 percent of non-lint content in the local cotton is being accepted with the tacit approval of APTMA unlike in any other country and urged the textile mills to play an active role in the production of quality lint.

Meanwhile, the Karachi Cotton Association’s spot rate committee maintained the spot rate at Rs19,700 per bale.

Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum chairman Naseem Usman says cotton rates are seeing a rising trend in the international markets. According to him, cotton futures in the New York market traded at 80.52 cents per pound.

Cotton Ginners Forum chairman Ihsanul Haq said that unfavourable weather had been affecting cotton cultivation this season.

He added that earlier cotton sowing was hit due to severe cold in the months of February and March in the coastal towns of Sindh and now higher temperature is affecting crop sowing and growth in major cotton zones of Punjab and Sindh. These included Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Multan, Sahiwal, Ghotki, Sukkur, Khairpur Meris and Nawabshah districts.

He said in a recent statement the Punjab government announced building a garment city covering 1,000 acres near Lahore, where local and foreign investors will be provided facilities for setting up new textiles mills. He suggested that the government should instead divert these funds to activate the 50 to 60pc textile mills lying inactive in the province due to various reasons.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2024

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