ISLAMABAD: A positive trend in cotton production has been witnessed this year with over 2.69 million bales reaching ginning mills so far — representing nearly 160 per cent higher arrivals — against 1.04m bales last year, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) said on Monday.
Chairing a meeting to review cotton production in the country, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam said total cotton production in the country will exceed the previous estimate of 8.46m bales. To maximise production, it is imperative that cotton growers focus on clean picking so that quality and higher grades are maintained to fetch better prices in the local market, he said.
He advised farmers to ensure vigilant crop management for maintaining the positive yield trend.
“Cotton growers should carefully choose high-yielding cotton varieties for next year and use certified seeds. The government will proactive with the provision of quality seed to facilitate the farmers, Mr Imam said.
The minister emphasised that the provincial governments should carry out proactive extension campaign for advising to properly manage their cotton crop because the coming six weeks are critical to maintain high yields.
The present government set intervention price of Rs5,000 per 40kg – a much-welcomed move after eight years – which encouraged the growers to invest in crop management and harvest higher yields. The MNFSR aims to ensure that concerns of all stakeholders are heard and addressed.
Senior officials of the provincial agriculture departments and the MNFSR attended the meeting.
‘Country still the fifth largest producer’
Pakistan is still the world’s fifth largest cotton producer, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The report, “Recent trends and prospects in the world cotton market and policy developments” says that cotton mill use in Pakistan rose to more than 2.6m tonnes before the recession in 2007-08, and despite a surge from 200,000 tonnes to 2.4m tonnes in 2017-18, mill use has remained below that peak level. Pakistan has the third largest cotton spinning industry in the world after China and India.
Although Pakistan was once a net exporter of cotton, it actually imported 600,000 tonnes in 2017-18. Central Asia as well as India normally account for about half of Pakistan’s imports.
The yield in Pakistan rose to 800 kg of lint per hectare in 2011-12 and remained at 780kg in 2014-15. However, since that time there has been a decline in cotton yields, which fell to 620kg of lint per hectare in 2018, which was 20pc lower than in 2014-15.