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Cotton production ‘picking’ up this year

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News Analysis |

The country has managed to produce around 11.57 million bales up to April 1, an upward trajectory of 845,459 bales this season (2017-18), showing a growth of about 7.88 per cent over the corresponding period last year when cotton production stood at 10.72m bales.

The growth of up to 12.31pc recorded by Sindh helped improve overall cotton production figure. Sindh produced 4.24m bales, an increase of 466,312 more cotton bales, against 3.78m bales produced last year. Punjab also managed to record a growth of 5.46pc in cotton production at 7.31m bales compared to 6.93m bales produced in the same period last year. Overall, Punjab produced 378,147 more bales compared to last year.

A local publication quoted a cotton expert that in the ideal scenario that there had been no pest attack and heatwave, cotton production would have been higher. However, he was apprehensive about the next cotton crop which is already faced with acute irrigation water shortage in both Sindh and Punjab.

Ginners are also holding higher quantity of unsold stocks at 486,963 bales compared to 354,557 bales in the corresponding period of last season. In total, 28 ginning units are still operational, with 22 in Punjab and 6 in Sindh, reports said.

It is interesting to note that both textile mills and exporters lifted more cotton this season over the last year, which presented a much more dismal picture. The year 2017 ended on a bittersweet note for the cotton industry. Higher cotton production by Sindh and Punjab helped the country improve its overall output by 7.16 percent year-on-year up to December 31st, according to the latest figures issued by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) on this week. Yet the production level remained lower than the official revised estimate of 12.6 million bales, GVS reported earlier.

Read more: Misery of the cotton pickers of Sindh demands Bilawal Bhutto’s attention

Cotton production crossed 10 million bales in the world’s fourth largest cotton producing country. All across the textile industry and farms, grievances against the government’s policies ensued despite the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif having announced a relief package for the cotton industry in January 2017. The former Premier had announced a Rs. 180-billion package to boost the country’s textile and apparel exports. The package included tax-free import of cotton and man-made fibre, and duty drawback on exports of fabrics, and garments against realization of import proceeds. A revision to the package was announced in October.

However, the year 2017 saw complaints from various quarters against the improper and delayed implementation of the package and several other government policies. The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) in November urged Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to personally direct an early release of funds to implement the package as non-payment of refunds and a sharp rise in cotton yarn prices had adversely hit the value-added textile sector.

Read more: Government policies failing cotton industry

According to details, spinners purchased 10.86m bales as against 10.37m bales last season. Similarly, exporters also lifted higher quantity at 216,615 bales compared to 202,356 bales last year. This quarter, the fortnightly flow of cotton phutti (seed cotton) from cotton fields into ginneries is still higher at 18,944 bales as against 3,492 bales of last season. This means that 15,452 more cotton bales reached the ginning units during March 15 to April 1, 2018.

Ginners are also holding higher quantity of unsold stocks at 486,963 bales compared to 354,557 bales in the corresponding period of last season. In total, 28 ginning units are still operational, with 22 in Punjab and 6 in Sindh, reports said.


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