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Cotton production likely to miss targets again this year

24
Sep '08
Cotton production in Pakistan for season 2008-09 is anticipated to remain below the level of 11.5 million bales which means it would be 2.5 million bales lower than 14.1 million bales' target set by the Government.

In an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Mr Ghulam Rabbani, Director Board of Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) stated, “There are several reasons behind the likely failure in meeting the government set targets and low production of cotton crops. Improper distribution of land for cultivation, lack of awareness among farmers about the harvesting methods, low quality seeds and insufficient irrigation facilities in the country can be cited as few among the many.”

According to Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), the country produced 11.7 million bales of cotton during 2007-08 which was lower by 2.4 million bales from the 14.1 set by the Government.

Additionally, higher cotton prices have added to the pressure on the gross margins of textile manufacturers. The country will have to spend from its valuable foreign exchange of aound $1.20 billion on import of lint if it intends to keep its mills operative.

Even the US Department of Agriculture's World Agricultural Supply and Demand estimates for September 2008 indicated towards lower world cotton production in the backdrop of reduced contribution from India, Australia, Pakistan and Turkey.

Experts have agreed to the fact that unless quality seeds, adequate inputs and water availability is assured, Pakistan is unlikely to achieve the cotton crop target of 2008-09.

Records for the month of August this year shows that average domestic cotton price reached an all-time high of Rs 4,235 per maund but with the arrival of new crop in September, prices slid to Rs 4,050 per maund. However, lint price was still 46 percent higher than previous year's average level of Rs2,840 per maund during the same month.

Recent trend depicts a soaring price trend for cotton due to lower production and comparatively higher consumption. Moreover, failure to fight cotton virus (mealy bug and clcv) and protect crop from heavy rainfall would lead to further damages like in case of Punjab and interior Sindh where around 20 percent of the crop have been affected. This apart, reason for lower production can also be attributed to cotton farmers switching to cultivation of sunflower and sugarcane which reaps greater profit.

The situation got so grim that cotton production target had to be revised by almost 8 percent or 10 million bales during the period April to August 2008.

Internaional Cotton Advisory Committee's September report shows that world cotton production is estimated at 114 million bales for 2008-09.

Lower world production of lint can also be due to drop in cultivated area in the US, Brazil and Turkey as also because of increasing competition from alternative crops.

On the world consumption side, however, a decline of 1 percent has been forecasted for the period under review due to slowdown in global economic growth.

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