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Pakistan's low cotton output to hit exports
16
Feb '16
Blighted by pest, drought and unseasonal rain, Pakistan's low cotton output this year will hit the country's exports, experts fear. The Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) has said low cotton output was hurting millions of cotton farmers which would ultimately affect exports and gross domestic product (GDP).

The country would miss the target of cotton production by 4.6 million bales necessitating imports worth $4 billion to keep textile industry running which would hit balance of payment situation and forex reserves, PBIF President Mian Zahid Hussain said in a statement.

He said the cotton sector which is backbone of the national economy, needed immediate attention of the government as it held 8.5 per cent share in the GDP, fetched $12 billion through exports and provides jobs to 40 per cent of the labour force.

“The situation shouldn't be allowed to take toll on sliding exports and drag down GDP by one per cent minimum,” he said. The reasons behind the low cotton output included sudden and unpredictable rains, drought in some areas, low cotton prices and hike in prices of inputs by 15-20 per cent and use of substandard seed which had discouraged farmers, he added.

He said that the sowing target of cotton was also missed as it was planted on 2.946 million hectares against the target of 3.122 million hectares which could lead to disastrous consequences if the trend continued in future.

Mian Zahid Hussain lashed out authorities who discounted local wisdom to promote genetically modified seed terming it pest resistant which proved otherwise.

The imported seed failed to withstand pink bollworm and whitefly attacks while pesticide to tackle the pests were not available in the market which played havoc with the crop, he added.

He called for immediate government action to restore the health of the cotton sector and warned that any delay could hurt the economy badly and Pakistan could slip from its position as the world's fourth largest cotton producer. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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