ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has missed its cotton production target by 1.3 million bales due to the sowing of the crop on a smaller area because of water shortage in the country.
“The government had fixed 14.6 million bales as the cotton production target. The crop has currently been estimated at 13.3 million bales, signifying a shortfall of 1.3 million bales,” Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah told The Express Tribune. He said the main reason behind the shortfall was that the crop had been sown on a smaller area due to the shortage of water.
“At the beginning of the season, the country faced shortage in water supply by 28% of the total requirements. Therefore, cotton was planted on an 8% smaller area,” Abdullah said; adding that the heavy rains and floods in the months of August and September had caused considerable losses to cotton production.
The third meeting of the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) was held here on Monday under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin. Ministry of Textile Industry Secretary Shahid Rashid, representatives of provincial governments, the Plant Protection Department, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), cotton growers, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) and the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) attended the meeting. The committee met to assess the size of the current cotton crop in the country.
The CCAC found that cotton production totalled 13.3 million bales across the country, as 9.60 million bales were harvested in Punjab, 3.60 million bales in Sindh, 0.09 million bales in Balochistan and 0.01 million bales were harvested in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Challenges faced by the cotton crop, especially the low availability of irrigation water during the sowing season, high input prices and rain and flood damage to crops, were discussed in detail.
The textile secretary stated that the cotton crop size is assessed on the basis of data provided by provincial governments, the yield parameters of cotton and the arrival patterns in markets. The textile secretary also urged the PCGA and other stakeholders to standardise the weight of bales to 170 kilogrammes in the national interest.
The Aptma representative was of the opinion that the assessment of the crop size was realistic and that ground realities were close to the estimated figure. However, the PCGA representative was of the view that the crop would come close to 13 million bales.
The committee also sought the flood damage reports of provinces where minor damages are not recorded. The committee’s chair emphasised the need to amend regulations which bar the documentation of flood damages on smaller scales.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2013.
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