Declining cotton production worries Pakistan
Voicing concern over sharp decline in cotton production and area under cotton cultivation, Senate Standing Committee on Textile Sector in Pakistan has called on the government to take up special measures to arrest the downward trend.
Pointing out that 80 % of cotton crop was used for generating export-oriented products, Senator Mohsin Aziz, who presided over the committee meeting on Tuesday said, farmers were switching over to other cash crops such as maize and sugarcane as they were not receiving fair price for their produce.
Already the Textile industry was facing severe hardship due to the absence of an exclusive textile policy, he said and warned that the declining trends would affect exports adversely.
The committee was informed that cotton production in Punjab last year fell 43 % compared to the preceding year, mainly due to unprecedented rains in the area. In Punjab, cotton cultivation acreage fell to 430,000 acres this year as compared to 540,000 acres last year, media reports said.
Noted Textile industrialist Mr Akbar Seth, who was invited as special guest in the committee, claimed that last year growers had to face Rs 22 billion worth of losses due to price variation in the open market.
Arguing that per acre cotton yield was among the lowest in Pakistan compared to other nations. mainly because there was no genuine seed company in Pakistan, Seth said government should focus on introducing latest seed technology and distribute certified seeds among growers to increase per acre yields.
According to the Cotton Commissioner, Mr Khalid Abdullah there were about 750 registered seed companies in Pakistan that were meeting 50% of the demand, while the remaining demand was being met by sowing of uncertified seeds.
Keeping in view the shortage of raw cotton in the country, the committee recommended the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to review the 5 % import duty on cotton and place it in the zero-rated regime.
While the Chairman of FBR, Mr Nisar Muhammad Khan said that the import duty on raw material used for textile industry was entitled to refund, the committee argued that the process of refund was very cumbersome. (SH)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India