Interview with Dr. Khalid Abdullah

Dr. Khalid Abdullah
Dr. Khalid Abdullah
Cotton Commissioner
Ministry of Textile Industry of Pakistan
Ministry of Textile Industry of Pakistan

For cotton, competition with polyester is a powerful challenge that is accelerating as chemical fibre production technology results in lower costs of polyester production. How do you think the cotton sector can overcome the challenges posed by polyester fibre?

The increased use of synthetic fibre started from 1970 and currently gaining share of almost 70% in all fibre consumption in world trade. The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), USA projected that world cotton production is approaching to its physical maximum. Moreover, per capita demand for fibre is increasing with the increase in global population. Therefore, synthetic fibre production which is greater than cotton production is fulfilling the increasing demand for fibre. It is projected that by the year 2020, the polyester production will be 2.5 times greater than the cotton production. China is the leading polyester fibre producing country. High cotton prices have also encouraged substitution with polyester fibre. Although, the polyester fibre has dominated over cotton fibre but cost and availability still play an important role in inter-fibre competition. During the years when oil prices rise and cotton production increased, the demand for polyester fibre declined in those years. The higher prices of cotton make recovery of demand for polyester fibre. Increase in cotton production with its lower prices will suppress the demand for polyester fibre. The rising oil prices also expected to discourage new investments in production of polyester fibre which will create opportunity for cotton production. There is a need to increase cotton acreage for enhancing cotton production and reduce the cost of doing business of cotton production. Cotton which is raw material of textile industry, but more importantly a major source of livelihood for millions, providing raw material to number of industries and a major source of foreign exchange earnings for many countries.

What is the latest cotton arrival situation n Pakistan? How is the arrival compared to this season's cotton production target?

The cotton arrivals into ginneries by November 15, 2013 remained 9.518 million bales compared with 8.519 million bales during same period last year depicting 11.73 % more than during the period under report. This is against the target of 11.96 million bales for the year 2013-14.

How receptive are the Asian markets to Bt cotton? How do you look at its growth prospects in Pakistan as well as Asia?

The rapid expansion and adoption of Bt cotton clearly depicts benefits occurring from this technology. The one example of India is with us whose cotton production rose from 2.380 million metric tons during the year 2000-01 to 6.00 million metric tons during the year 2012-13 with the use of this technology. With the rise in cotton area under Bt varieties, the production also rose substantially. Bt cotton has not only helped reducing cost of plant protection for control pests besides increasing production as well. Pakistan is no exception left behind in getting benefit from this technology. The country harvested ever highest production level of 14.8 million bales during the year 2011-12 and is sustaining production to the level of 12 million bales during the last decade mainly because of cultivation of Bt cotton varieties on larger area. The lint yield per hectare has also rose from 571 kg / ha (2003-04) to 785 kg/ha (2011-12) and 727 kg/ha during the year 2013-14. Similarly, with the increased production, textile exports have also jumped from US$ 8.4 billion in 2003-04 to US$ 11 billion in 2012-13 and expected to reach US$ 14 billion or more during 2013-14. The Ministry of Commerce & Textile Industry is also in the process of negotiating with M/s Monsanto and other multinationals for acquiring transgenic cotton technology with advanced genes for enhancing cotton productivity of the country. The prospects of application is transgenic technology will further improve in the coming years in solving issues related to crop production.
Published on: 28/11/2013

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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