Thursday November 30, 2023

Cotton production recorded at 1.35 million bales

September 04, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan produced 1.35 million of cotton bales till September 1, 2019 with production from the Punjab having sharply declined due to rains and water influx from India.

No data of cotton arrivals was collected by this time last year. Of total, 375,813 bales arrived from the Punjab and 979,897 bales from Sindh, according to the first fortnightly report released by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) on Tuesday.

Highest arrivals were recorded from Sanghar (659,332 bales), followed by Mirpurkhas (98,454 bales) and Hyderabad (96,309 bales). Naseem Usman, chairman of Karachi Cotton Brokers Association said rain affected the quality of cotton crop in the Punjab, “but no reports of pest attack were received”. “However, some crop was affected in the riverbed in the Punjab due to release of water in Sutlej River by India,” he added. “Around 0.6 to 0.7 million bales are grown in the Punjab’s riverbed.”

Usman said the private sector was expecting 12 million to 12.5 million bales during the current season. Cotton is usually sown from April to June and harvested from August to December. “But, the estimate didn’t factor in rain effects.”

The federal committee on agriculture fixed cotton production target at 15 million bales for the ongoing season, which appears ambitious considering the last year’s output of 12 million bales, below the target of 14.37 million bales. The association’s report showed that 1.15 million bales were sold to textile mills and 24,302 bales to exporters. Around 290 factories have started operations.

Usman said trade activity in the local market remains disturbed due to rain in the cotton growing areas of Sindh. Extreme heat and rains have affected cotton crop in Umerkot and Sanghar districts. Rain has also affected the crop in Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad districts as well. Besides, buyers and ginners suspended purchase of cotton due to rain in these areas.

Rain results in developing pest in cotton crop, which affects its production. The effect would be more visible in the coming days as rain is forecast to continue.

Punjab’s cotton was receiving better rates in the market of around Rs8,300 per maund (37.324 kg) while lint in Sindh was fetching around Rs3,800 per maund. The cotton trader said September usually becomes a dangerous month for the growers because of monsoon. “Even if there is a little rain, it is enough to develop pest in the crop.”

Usman said cotton trade has also been affected as the Federal Board of Revenue imposed 10 percent sales tax on cotton that would be collected at the ginner level while withholding tax was increased to 4.5 percent from one percent.

Mehmood Ahmed, chairman of PCGA informed the FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi and other high-ups of the issues, “but no official announcement has been issued in favour of the industry”.

The Federal Committee on Agriculture hoped that sufficient water availability in reservoirs and fertiliser would lead to bumper crop this year. The committee fixed cotton production target from an area of 2.895 million hectares in summer 2019/20. “For the year 2019/20, the water availability in canals head will remain 108.67MAF (million acres feet) as against last year which was 88.04 MAF,” the food ministry said a statement following the committee’s meeting.