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Cotton imports widen as domestic produce falls short of demand
Aug '08
Cotton import trends of Pakistan have shown a staggering increase because of a shortage of domestically produced raw material which has been affected by low quality BT seeds, poor irrigation and the mealy bug attack.

Pakistan's dependence on cotton imports has mounted by nearly 100 percent to exceed the mark of US $1 billion in the last fiscal year. As against the target of 14.1 million bales which was revised by the Government to 11.6 million bales, the country could only achieve around 11.3 million bales.

Insufficient quality cotton, delay in cotton crops, pest attack and time lag in importing pesticides have been figured out as some of the key reasons behind this drastic downfall in cotton production.

Besides, export of cotton to other countries has also led to a shortage which in turn intensified imports, as a consequence of which, the country spent a substantial US $1.291 billion on cotton imports which was obviously higher than $646.568 million spent in the last fiscal and reflecting an increase of $644 million. However, imports in the month of June declined by 50 percent to $42.79 million in contrast to $82.38 millions in June 2007.

In terms of volume, the country imported about 5.39 million bales of cotton this year compared to 2.76 million last fiscal recording a surge of 97 percent. It can only be hoped that cotton production in the season 2008-09 brings relief to the textile industry which is finding it impossible to meet the consumption level of 16-16.5 million bales from a yield of 11.3 million bales.

Limiting exports is one of the measures suggested by experts to bring the situation under control. This is because, unless there is a change in the current market scenario, the textile industry is in for worse days ahead.

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