|Pakistan’s cotton output has fallen for the sixth consecutive year, according to the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), an association that is working for the betterment of the cotton ginning industry in Pakistan / Photo by: S Aziz123 via Wikimedia Commons|
Pakistan’s cotton output has fallen for the sixth consecutive year, according to the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), an association that is working for the betterment of the cotton ginning industry in Pakistan. This declining trend of the country’s cotton production is likely to set a record low at 8.5 million bales.
Continuing Decline in Cotton Production
Pakistan newspaper Dawn published that based on the PCGA production data, Pakistan will possibly face a shortfall of 2.1 million bales. Cotton analysts have likewise believed that the overall cotton production will remain below the 9 million bales mark. Even PCGA Chairman Jawed Sohail Rehmani is worried that the current season would be the “worst” for the cotton industry because their initial estimate shows that the country may only produce 8.5 million bales of cotton.
Cotton as a Backbone of Pakistan’s Economy
Rehmani went on to say that cotton is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and is considered to be a cash crop, which means that it is produced for its commercial value instead of for use by the grower. About 65% of Pakistan’s exports depend on cotton and the lack of attention from the government may be the cause for the changing trend, Rehmani lamented.
The PCGA Chairman alleged the existence of a sugar lobby in the government that helps protect the sugar industry’s interest but at the expense of cotton crop. He added that awareness should be made that sugar is only consumed locally but cotton crop paves the way for foreign exchange. Rehmani also demanded that the import duty on cotton be removed until the local stocks are taken by the textile spinning mills. This is because there is still a sizable cotton inventory held by the ginners or those operating cotton gin machines in the hope that they can soon sell it at higher prices.
|About 65% of Pakistan’s exports depend on cotton and the lack of attention from the government may be the cause for the changing trend, Rehmani lamented / Photo by: Bilalnaqeeb via Wikimedia Commons|
Cotton analyst Amir Naseem also states that because of the demand and supply gap of cotton in Pakistan, local consumers are more likely to import around 6 million bales of cotton and this will put a huge burden on the foreign exchange reserves -- assets held on reserve by a central bank in the form of foreign currencies.
Naseem believes that the cause of the declining trend in cotton production was the 2013 to 2014 season, wherein the cotton industry produced a bumper crop amounting to 14.86 million bales. This season, people in the cotton industry fear that they will hit their lowest. As of December 15, 2019, Pakistan’s cotton production faced a 2.10 million bales shortfall with only 7.8 million bales production compared to last year’s 9.96 million bales.
Kandiaro-based cotton ginner and grower Dayaram shared they now have nearly 1.2 million bales of unsold stocks and they are also facing a financial crisis because the textile industry is now giving more attention to imports. Dayaram urged the country’s leaders to save ginners like them from a possible collapse as growers have already sold almost all of their seed cotton (phutti) while the ginneries are still holding huge stocks of cotton. Dayaram also hopes that action is taken by the government to ensure that there remains a higher production of cotton in the country.
Cotton production: Pakistan vs. India
India is one of the largest cotton producers in the world but it also experienced a decline in cotton production. In Punjab state, it was only able to produce 4.467 million bales of cotton in 2019 compared to the 5.918 million bales it produced in 2018 of the same period. Similarly, the cotton production in Sindh, Pakistan was only at 3.394 million bales compared to 4.04 million bales in the same period in 2018.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Pakistan’s cotton production quantity are as follows: 2001 (1,805,200 tonnes), 2002 (1,736,800), 2003 (1,709,100), 2004 (2,426,500), 2005 (2,214,475), 2006 (2,187,000), 2007 (1,982,000), 2008 (2,010,000), 2009 (2,196,000), 2010 (1,949,000), 2011 (2,312,000), 2012 (2,217,000), and 2013 (2,171,948).
The top 10 producers of cotton lint in the world are China, United States, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Turkey, Australia, Greece, and Turkmenistan. The production share by region is as follows: Africa (7.1%), Americas (24.4%), Asia (64%), Europe (2%), and Oceana (2.5%).
Climate Damage to the Cotton Crop
According to a separate report by Middle East newspaper Arab News, high temperatures and heavy rains during the entire cotton-growing season from April to September are the reasons why cotton crops are damaged and the effect also hits Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan Central Cotton Committee’s cotton commissioner and vice president Khalid Abdullah said that most of the country’s cotton is grown in Punjab province and that is the same area that experienced unexpected high temperatures even at night.
Since damage to the cotton crop also affects the economy, climate change presents a challenge not just to agriculture but the country’s leaders too. May they find the right strategy to achieve high yield and finally put an end to the continuing decline.
|According to a separate report by Middle East newspaper Arab News, high temperatures and heavy rains during the entire cotton-growing season from April to September are the reasons why cotton crops are damaged and the effect also hits Pakistan’s economy / Photo by: Noorabbasmirza via Wikimedia Commons|