KARACHI: Pakistan could harvest a record cotton crop next year because of increase in sowing area and rains, experts predict. While official estimates have not been released yet reports from the private sector have estimated that 15.6 million bales of cotton may be harvested this season.
If the experts are right, this would be a massive increase compared to last year’s harvest which was about 12.69 million bales. The bumper crop could lead to more exports this season.
Cotton has been cultivated on about 3.35 million hectares in the Rabi season, according to Ayub Usman, CEO of Usman Cotton Company who said that average yield in the country is about 740 kilograms per hectare. “At that rate, we should expect a harvest of about 15.6 million bales of cotton in the next season,” he said.
July and August will be crucial for the success of the current crop. Usman said that farmers still have to protect their crop against pests, viruses and weather changes. However he said light rains in Sindh and Punjab which come right after sowing have been very beneficial for the crop. Economist Asad Farid said that BT cotton seeds will also start giving better yields as farmers grow accustomed to using them. “This could give a much-needed boost to growth in the agriculture sector and the economy.”
Many analysts are optimistic that better yield and increased acreage under cultivation will help the country harvest a record cotton crop in the next harvest.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2010.
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