Government must accord priority and attention to the Cotton production

KARACHI: Government must accord priority and attention to the Cotton production, cultivation area and cotton yield in order to support the entire value added textile chain because cotton and cotton yarn are basic raw materials for the survival and development of textile export sector.

Due to decline in cotton production, the production of value added textile sector has suffered at large owing to unavailability of cotton yarn and the textile exporters are hesitant to finalize new export orders due to unavailability of cotton yarn.

According to PCGA report till November – 15, 2020 , only 4.02 million bales reached ginneries which is extreme low as compared to 6.85 million bales in last year which shows decrease of 41.27%.

The cotton crop is considered as white gold. However, the production of cotton is facing declining trend with every passing year. The declining trend is not only inflicting damage to the country’s economy but also affecting the farmers and other people associated with its business.

The major causes of decline in cotton crops are reduction in cotton cultivation area and per acre production, low quality seeds and farmers are shifting their focus toward other crops as lack of government’s support.

This shortfall has brought devastating effects on textile exports and demand immediate attention of the government to take immediate short as well as medium and long term measures with concrete policy under consultation with value added textile representatives to increase the cotton produce in order to meet the growing demand of the value added textile industry as well as value added textile exports which contribute approx. 54% in total exports, provides approx. 40% of urban employment particularly to female workforce and earns largest foreign exchange for Pakistan.

The Government must immediately take notice of providing sub-standard cotton seeds to farmers by the suppliers and strict action must be taken against them as exporters see that supplying sub-standard seeds to farmers is an act against the interest of Pakistan. Two Cotton Research Institutes were established in the past, one in Karachi and other in Multan.

The Institute of Karachi was largest institute having the most modern technology and labs was closed and the plot measuring in acres was given to US Consulate in Karachi. This was stated by Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum.

The current state of affair demands the Government to also allow import of cotton yarn without custom and regulatory duties as Government has already allowed duty free import of cotton. Pakistan should expand cultivation area to meet the requirement of the Value Added Textile Export Industry. Pakistan’s textile exports cannot be enhanced unless cotton cultivation area is improved. Government should provide free top quality GM cotton seeds contain a toxin to kill selective insects to growers.

The Fertilizer and Pesticides should also be provided on subsidized rates by the Government. The Government should support to those growers who will increase cultivation area and yield on yearly basis.

This will surely result in increase in cotton production. In 1991, Pakistan’s cotton crop is more than the India’s cotton crop. If our Government would have better policies, Pakistan’s cotton crop may reach to 40 million bales and we could fetch $180 billion by converting $4.5 billion per 1 million bales.

However, it is an irony that Pakistan’s cotton crop has shrunk to 8.5 million bales, while India’s cotton crop reached to around 29 million bales. Pakistan Government should adopt policies are being followed by the neighbouring country to increase their cotton production.

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