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Cotton & Products MY 2008/09 forecast
Feb '08
The MY 2008/09 total cotton planted area forecast is 3.0 million hectares. The production forecast is 2.04 million metric tons based on increased planting of illegal genetically modified Bt cottonseed, improved management practices and rising world cotton demand.

MY 2008/09 cotton planted area is forecast at 3.0 million hectares, matching last year's plantings. In spite of last year's low yield, consistency in area planted is mainly due to the higher returns received by cotton farmers and increased world demand for the fiber, resulting in an optimistic outlook.

This appears to have brought a halt to the steady decline in area planted to cotton as farmers now consider it the most viable enterprise.

Unapproved BT cotton varieties will likely cover over 80 percent of Pakistan's planted area. As with last year's crop, the double threat of mealy bugs and cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) will continue to take a major toll on production.

For MY 2007/08, the national average yield is estimated at 635 kilos per hectare -- 4.5 percent less than the MY 2006/07 yield and over 5 percent lower than the five year average of 669 kilos per hectare.

The reduced MY 2007/2008 crop yield was a result of attack by mealy bugs and CLCV, followed by unfavorable weather conditions at critical stages of crop development.

MY 2008/09 yields are expected to exceed the previous year's output levels based on:
• Increased planting of unapproved Bt cotton varieties

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