KARACHI: Pakistan will import more cotton this season after losing about four million bales of the fibre to rains, pest attacks, and bad farm inputs during sowing season, industry officials said on Thursday.
The country will take a loss of Rs120 billion worth of cotton in the current season (June-March) after the government revised down production target by another two million bales (of 170 kilogram each).
So far, the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee has estimated production short by four million bales at 11.4 million bales this year against the initial target of 15.4 million bales in February 2015.
In the first five months (June-October) cotton production fell almost 23 percent to 7.64 million bales. Industry officials estimate local consumption of around 15 million bales this season. Last year the country had imported around one million bales to meet demand of local textile industry.
This season the industry officials expect the country to import at least 2.5 million bales after the government revised down the production target twice.
"Value of one bale (at current market price) is around Rs30,000," said Shahzad Ali Khan, chairman, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association. "The losses would multiple if include byproducts (banola oil seeds and cotton cake) and value added textile products."
Dr Mohmmad Ali Talpur, director marketing and economic research at Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, said heavy rains in April-May 2015 damaged cotton crops in key production areas of Punjab.
“Aggressive use of pesticides to counter pest attacks on the crops still in the fields also damaged fibre,” Talpur said. "Punjab is the worst affected province."
He said floods had also damaged crops at an estimated area of 100,000 acres. "The average production from one acre of land stands at 25 maund (37.324 kilogram) in Pakistan…this has declined drastically in the current season," he said.
Talpur said the worst affected areas from rains were including Multan, Lodhran, Vehari, Khanewal, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Layyah, and Rahim Yar Khan.