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Cotton farmers in Pakistan shift to other crops

Mar '12
Absence of a comprehensive national cotton policy has caused farmers and ginners in Pakistan to suffer a loss of around PK Rs. 200 billion, which pushed cotton farmers, who used to do the early sowing in February, to shift to growing potatoes and sunflowers.

Mr. Amanullah Qureshi, Chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) told fibre2fashion, “In spite of Pakistan harvesting bumper crop of cotton during the current season, the ginners and cotton farmers have suffered a loss of nearly PK Rs. 200 billion, mainly owing to lack of a comprehensive policy.”

Explaining how the loss occurred, he says, “This season Pakistan's cotton production is about 14.7 million bales, whereas the consumption is 12.5-13 million bales. So, for the surplus cotton we had requested the Government of Pakistan to purchase one million bales through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and export it.”

“Initially, the Prime Minister agreed to it and made an announcement regarding the same in the National Assembly, but the Textile Ministry did not allow it to be executed. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) took full advantage of the situation and lowered the price of cotton in local market. As a result of this, the ginners and cotton cultivators incurred huge losses estimated to be around PK Rs. 200 billion,” he continues.

Elaborating further, he says, “The decline in rates of cotton led to a simultaneous decrease in the price of yarn. Moreover, the buyers too lowered the prices of yarn as well as fabrics.”

“If a timely decision was taken and the Government would have purchased one million bales of cotton, then the growers and ginners would have been able to sell at prevailing international rates and yarn and fabric prices would also have been in control,” he ponders.

“Consequently, due to the huge losses incurred by cotton farmers, the farmers who used to do the early sowing in February have shifted to farming potatoes and sunflowers,” he states.

To prevent more farmers from abandoning cotton cultivation, he says, “We have been repeatedly telling the Government to call a meeting of all stakeholders and announce a cotton policy so that the growers can plan their crops accordingly.”

“Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world. So, we wish and hope that the Government plans well in advance and encourage farmers to yield a bumper crop in the coming season,” he sums up.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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