KARACHI: Pakistan has produced 9.475 million bales of cotton this season, a whopping shortfall of 33.5 per cent compared to 14.251m bales a year earlier, the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association said in its fortnightly report issued on Monday.
Cotton analyst Naseem Usman estimated that this shortfall would inflict a loss of around $6 billion on GDP — of which $1.5bn would be suffered by cotton growers and $4.5bn by the industry and exporters.
Moreover, the country is also expected to spend some $1.25bn this season on cotton imports amounting to 3m million bales, he said. Around 2.5m bales have already been imported so far, mostly from India.
“I would say it is a gloomy year for the cotton economy of the country and its GDP growth because textiles alone contributed up to $13bn in exports,” lamented Tariq Saud, the chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.
Spinners normally import around 1m to 1.2m bales of long staple cotton a year to meet their high quality exports. But exports are going to treble this year, he maintained.
During the period under review, Punjab’s production fell by 44.5pc year-on-year to 5.742m bales from 10.340m bales. The cotton crop in the province had been severely affected by heavy rains and floods of last year. The use of uncertified seeds and pesticides were other major factors which resulted in short crop.
As very little unpicked cotton is left in the cotton fields of Punjab, only 193 ginning mills are currently operating as against 355 units in the same period of last year.
Cotton output in Sindh also remained low at 3.733m bales, or 4.5pc short over the corresponding period last year when production stood at 3.910m bales. Only 85 ginning units are presently functioning in Sindh compared to 137 last year.
The fortnightly flow of phutti from cotton fields into ginneries remained very low at 196,624 bales compared to 292,525 in the same period last season.
The textile industry, hit by financial crisis and high cost of doing business, has purchased 7.679m bales this season as against 12.055m bales a year ago. Exporters have purchased 357,878 bales compared to 420,214.
At present, ginners are holding 1.438m bales of unsold cotton compared to 1.680m bales in the comparable period of last year.