Wednesday June 29, 2022

ECC urged to revisit cotton support price decision

By Our Correspondent
May 10, 2020

KARACHI: Growers and industrialists have appealed the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet to revisit the

decision of turning the down support price of cotton.

Stakeholders said growers in upper Sindh and Punjab were considering sowing other cash crops instead of cotton, as they were not receiving the due rates. Cotton sowing in lower parts of Sindh was almost complete.

Pakistan Kissan Ittehad President Khalid Khokhar criticised the decision of the ECC, and said the industry had won against the growers in this decision. May 7 proved as a black day for the cotton growers, he added.

Since 2010, cotton cultivation area has declined by 20 percent in the country, while corn and sugarcane production have increased instead of cotton.

Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has not announced cotton production target in the country and growers were hopeful it would make the announcement in the next meeting.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Agriculture former chairman, Ahmad Jawad said turning down the summary of the Ministry of National Food Security by the ECC was unjustified regarding support price of cotton. He said the demand was essential at this point to promote the crop so that import could be discouraged.

In 2019, Pakistan imported cotton worth $831.78 million according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

“On May 7, 2020, ECC rejected a proposal of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research in which intervention price of seed cotton (Phutti) was proposed at Rs4,224 per mound.”

Jawad said farmers would not grow cotton if there were no incentives. It was a provincial subject, he conceded; however, right now the country needed good cotton production, for which growers should be encouraged to cultivate. This would also ensure prompt supply to the textile industry, and promote the concept of Made in Pakistan.

He pointed out that the world had learned from this pandemic that food security and agriculture were important, but Pakistanis were yet to understand sustainability.

Jawad also stated that the adviser to PM on commerce should understand that revival of textile exports could not be achieved with the current quantity and quality of cotton produced in Pakistan.

“For the financial year 2020, about 15 million bales of cotton are required, but only half of that amount is being produced locally.”

He also questioned if the adviser disagreed with the suggested support price. If that was the case, he urged the adviser to speak to the ECC and revisit the support price and second summary to encourage cotton production.

The ECC decision reflects that the battle has been lost by the growers against the textile lobby, as the growers failed to get approved a fair price for their produce, while the textile industry received a decision in their favour.