Sindh crop hit by water shortage
COTTON picking has started in some districts of Sindh though currently the pace is slow. Market price of phutti per maund is between Rs2,600 and Rs2,700, which, farmers say, does not commensurate with the rising cost of production.
A few ginning factories have started purchasing cotton in Sanghar district and according to a local ginner Meero Mal they are offering Rs2,700 per maund for phutti (raw cotton) to growers. The ginners are selling a maund of fresh cotton crop for Rs6,100-Rs6,200 to textile mills, but prices largely hinge on international market trends.
Cotton crop luckily has not been hit by any major pest or viral attack. Farmers say they should get at least Rs3,600 per maund
for their cotton crop given the cost of production which ranges between Rs3,100 and Rs3,200. For growers, the current price is not encouraging. A proper mechanism should be put in place to enable the farmers get a fair price.
Growers estimate that “At least 15 per cent less cotton was grown in Sanghar district alone,” as a result of low phutti prices and water shortage.
If the crop receives normal rains during the monsoon there are chances of improvement in its yield.
The Sindh agriculture department estimates 12 to 13 per cent less sowing of cotton crop during the season against the initial target of 650,000 hectares and attributes the drop in acreage to water shortage.
It claims that reports of late sowing are still coming.
“I fear 30 per cent less cotton output this year mainly due to shortage of irrigation water. We will be having around 3.2 million bales or say 3.5 million bales at the most if the weather goes farmers’ way or the monsoon season does not get rough to the detriment of standing crop which looks quite good in fields,” points out Abdul Majeed Nizamani, president Sindh Abadgar Board.
The growers of tail-reaches of the entire Nara Canal system of Sukkur barrage and in the command area of the Kotri barrage were hit by water shortage. Even those who grew the crop did not get water subsequently.
General Secretary of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture Nabi Bux Sathio says in his home district Tando Mohammad Khan, the area under cotton cultivation has dropped by 50 per cent.
Provincial agriculture secretary Aijaz Ali Khan says, “I am confident 80 per cent target of cotton sowing has been achieved and reports about sowing taking place in areas where irrigation water is available is still pouring in.”