KARACHI: A shortfall in cotton crop continues to worsen this season, particularly because of a 43-per cent fall in Punjab’s output, with some estimating that the country’s economy is set to take a hit of $6 billion this fiscal year.
According to the latest phutti (seed cotton) arrival figures released by the ginners’ body on Friday, the country produced 9.034 million bales (1 bale = 170kg) as of Dec 15, 2015, a fall of 32 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.
The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association’s (PCGA) fortnightly report (Dec 1 to 15) showed that output from Punjab, which produces around 80pc of the country’s cotton, has almost halved to 5.398m bales from 9.448m bales a year ago.
Analysts even challenge Cotton Crop Assessment Committee’s production estimates at 10.85m bales and believe that once the cotton bale’s weight is put at 170kg, the output figures would lower to 8.8m bales.
Gahour Ijaz, former chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), said the short crop would lead to a loss of $6bn to the country’s economy — $2bn to growers and $4bn to industry and exports.
Another textile tycoon requesting anonymity criticised the government’s policy of not transferring the benefits of low crude oil price to the masses and industry.
He believed the government was underplaying issues of textile economy by projecting falling exports as a global trend. Exports of India and Bangladesh have increased, he added.
India’s yarn exports were around 40,000 tonnes a few years back, but have now increased to 110,000 tonnes because of consistent government support, he said. Sindh’s cotton production has dropped 4pc from 3.785m bales to 3.635m bales this season.
Naseem Usman, a cotton analyst, said that by the close of current season around 5m cotton bales would be short.
He added that the use of defective and expired pesticides, poor quality seeds coupled with heavy rains and floods have been major factors behind low crop in Punjab. Moreover, climate change has also had its toll on the cotton crop, he said.
During the outgoing fortnight (Dec 1-15), the country harvested around 402,185 cotton bales, compared to 1.088m bales in the same period last year, a shortfall of 686,096 bales.
The spinning industry has purchased 6.812m bales so far this season compared to 10.597m bales a year ago. However, exporters lifted 354,626 bales this time around as against 351,230.
Unsold cotton stocks lying with ginners currently stand at 1.867m bales compared to 2.223m bales recorded in the same period last season. In total, 580 ginning units are currently functioning as against 1,052 in the same period of last year.
News source: Dawn