Cotton output may fall by 18.5pc to 11.5m bales
ISLAMABAD, Sept 10: Unlike the previous year when Pakistan had surplus cotton production, the textile sector is set to face cotton shortage in 2011 as final figures gathered by the ministry of food and agriculture said cotton crop would decline by 18.5 per cent to 11.5 million bales against the production target of 14.11 million bales.
The decline would not only create cotton shortage but also increase yarn rates pushing the cost of production for the textile sector.
“Yarn prices are already high, and with cotton shortages the situation is not healthy for the value-added textile sector,” said a senior official of the textile ministry.
Cotton is scheduled to arrive in the markets from late September in Sindh and mid-October in Punjab. However, farmers estimate that prices would increase by 25 per cent this year.
“Last year maximum price of phutti was Rs2,300 per 40 kilograms, this time it would cross Rs3,000 from the start,” said Mohammad Kashif, a grower in Rahimyar Khan.
High rates are expected due to shortages created by floods in the ongoing Kharif season.
The cotton crop has also suffered from the virus attacks in some parts of the country.
The ministry has compiled a report on cotton production based on data gathered by the field staff of provincial agriculture department on district-wise crop damage in 23 districts severely hit by the floods.
The report is expected to be presented to the cabinet and the ECC for determining the impact of reduced cotton production on the textile sector and the economy of the country.
The ministry’s report said around 1.71 million acres of cotton crop has been affected by floods which includes around 1.41 million acres in Punjab and around 303,200 acres in Sindh. However, cotton sown at 6.03 million acres is safe.
In the current year, farmers cultivated cotton on 7.75 million acres and the government had estimated to harvest more than 14.11 million bales in 2010.
The ministry also said that pest attack was also witnessed in the second week of July 2010 and the cotton crops in some parts of country suffered from the Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) attack.
However, global cotton situation has slightly improved and the world cotton production is estimated at 115.9 million bales in 2010-11 against 100.41 million bales production last year.
Pakistan is the fourth largest cotton producer at international ranking, while China is at the top with production estimated at 32.5 million bales, India 25.4 million bales, US 18.7 million bales.
Brazil likely to contribute 6.8 million bales, Uzbekistan 4.7 million bales, and other small countries would add around 17.7 million bales.