KARACHI: Raising an alarm on the drastic drop in cotton production this season, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) on Monday demanded the government to take emergency measures to improve cotton yield to curtail losses worth billions and to safeguard livelihoods.
PCGA Chairman Dr Jassu Mal and other leaders said that cotton production had reached the lowest level in three decades. Urging the government to take concrete measures to address the issue, Mal said the country was “facing a direct loss of $2 billion annually and $8 billion indirectly due to the drop in cotton production”.
Pakistan’s cotton yield had dropped to only 5.5 million bales from 15 million bales, which showed the government’s inefficiency and lack of focus on the important crop. This drop was affecting growers, ginners, spinning and viewing industry, as well as the country’s textile export industry, he added.
Cotton seed worth $700 million and animal feed (khal) of $1.5 was lost, while cotton or wood used as fuel was an additional loss.
Cotton pickers, a majority of whom were women, collectively earned around Rs40-50 billion annually. Reduced cotton production meant joblessness for them, he said. Similarly, 60 percent of ginning factories out of a total 1,200 were closed. This added to unemployment.
PCGA appealed the prime minister and other policy making institutions to save livelihoods of people related to the cotton crop. It asked the government to constitute a cotton control board to achieve a production of 20 million bales and protect the interests of research, sowing, pest management, picking, ginning, spinning and value-addition sector.
PCGA officials demanded that cotton crop zoning system should be implemented in its true letter and spirit and other crops should be restricted in cotton growing areas. Certified new seed, with resistance to weather and pest, should be introduced.
Likewise textile sector, ginning sector should also be provided incentives and power rates of ginning sector be reduced, they demanded. PCGA leadership also demanded the government to announce support price for cotton before the beginning of the season. A PCGA report on cotton showed that stockpiling in factories dropped by 2.84 million bales or 34 percent till January 15. Arrivals in factories recorded at 5.49 million bales, down 34 percent from 8.33 million bales during the same period last year.
Of these arrivals, 70,200 bales were exported, up 25 percent, against 55,984 bales exported last year. By this time, 4.8 million bales have been sold to mills, down 34 percent, against last year’s 7.3 million bales. Currently, ginners hold 585,331 bales in inventory, down 38 percent, compared to 941,657 bales held last year.
Fortnightly flows (January 1-15), dropped by 38 percent to 122,585 bales against flows of 198,535 bales during the same period last year. Punjab recorded arrivals of 3.36 million bales, down 31 percent, against arrivals of 4.87 million bales by the same period last year. Arrivals from Sindh were down by 39 percent to 2.12 million bales against 3.46 million bales by the same period last year.
Source: The News