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October 5, 2019

Pakistan may not achieve target of 15m bales of cotton


October 5, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In a setback to agriculture economy, Pakistan may not be able to achieve the cotton production target of 15 million bales as the first meeting of the cotton crop assessment committee that met here on Friday morning unanimously agreed that actual cotton production, the country will have is expected to be at 10 million bales.

Dr. Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner while talking to The News confirmed that Pakistan’s cotton production will stay at 10 million bales instead of 15 million bales. He said crops productions are nature dependent. When asked of this is very bad news for the economy of the country and the blame for this fiasco should squarely be placed on the Ministry of Food Security and the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), he again reiterated his argument saying that agriculture growth depends on the nature.

Sometimes flood, storms and natural calamities hit the sector. It is not necessary that the targets are met. He said last year bumper crop of wheat was expected and the target was set at 26 million tons of wheat production but actual production was at 24.5 million tones.

According to the officials, Sindh reported a drop of 30% in the expected cotton crop while Punjab reported a drop of 15% over last year’s production. This shortfall of 33% in cotton production translates to a drop of 2% in GDP as well as the requirement of importing at least 5 million bales increasing the import bill very substantially. ‘The expected quality of cotton is also much worse than last year.’

However, APTMA’s adviser says that failure of the cotton crop calls for urgent and immediate action by the government in restructuring of PCCC with private sector leadership. ‘The transfer of PCCC from the Textile Ministry to Food Security was a parting gift from the previous government who approved this transfer in their last cabinet meeting.’

He also stressed the need for a long term stable and progressive textile and cotton policy has been underscored by this disaster, inescapable if Pakistan is to progress and achieve economic stability and aggressive growth.

However, the press release issued says first meeting of Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) was held here on Friday morning under the Chairmanship of Ch. Mohammad Ayub, Additional Secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research.

Representatives of provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab, Plant Protection Department (PPD), Trading Cooperation of Pakistan (TCP), Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department (FSC&RD), Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), Karachi Cotton Association (KCA), and Cotton Growers attended the meeting. The Committee met to assess the volume of current cotton crop in the country.

The chair welcomed the participants and appreciated the stakeholders’ interest and participation in the process of cotton crop assessment and described the objectives of the meeting. Dr. Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner, dilated the overview of cotton production scenario in the country.

Challenges faced by the cotton crop especially high input prices, insect pests’ pressure and the higher temperature were also discussed in detail.

Representatives of the provincial governments explained the methodology for crop assessment and informed the house about the crop estimates. Member representing APTMA was of the opinion that the assessment is very realistic and the ground realities are very close to this forecast.

Cotton growers emphasized the need of price intervention by the government in such a way that benefit should go directly to growers. Additional Secretary, MNFS&R, stated that cotton crop size is assessed on the basis of data provided by provincial governments, yield parameters of cotton and ensured the second assessment will be held after 3-4 weeks’ time.

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