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Flood disaster hits cotton production
Aug '10
Pakistan is the fourth largest cotton producing country. Pakistan was expected to grow 2.2 million tons in 2010/11, the first year of the official release of biotech cotton in the country.

Many cotton districts in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh have been severely hit by floods, and more rains are forecast over the next week. The provincial governments cannot make objective estimates of losses until the rains stop and flood water recedes. Nevertheless, best guesses are that 6-8% of the total cotton area has been lost entirely.

Additional losses will occur as a result of the excessive moisture. Standing water suffocates the root system and kills cotton plants. However, the crop in Pakistan has reached the peak flowering/fruit formation stage in the Punjab, the boll maturity stage in upper Sindh and early-planted areas of Punjab, and the boll opening stage in lower Sindh. Consequently, cotton plants have grown tall enough and have developed large enough root systems that many will be able to survive the floods.

Hot and humid conditions provide suitable conditions for pest multiplication, including bollworms that affect the fruit directly. The Secretariat estimates that at least half of the 2010/11 crop was planted to biotech varieties resistant to bollworms. Moreover, plants still have time to recover fruit losses due to shedding. In addition, those areas of the Punjab that have been safe from floods may produce high yields, thus partially offsetting losses in other areas.

While considerable uncertainty remains, the Secretariat is revising its estimate of the 2010/11 Pakistan crop down by 15% to 1.9 million tons. The estimate of Pakistan mill use is being reduced by 100,000 tons, but estimates of mill use in other countries are being raised to compensate, leaving world mill use unchanged.

The Secretariat of the Committee publishes information related to world cotton production, supply, demand and prices, and provides technical information on cotton production technology.

International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)

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