ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is going to miss its cotton production target this year as it is expected to produce 12.6 million bales against the target of 14.04 million.
Though the output will fall short of the goal, it will be significantly higher than last year’s production of 10.7 million bales.
According to a statement, the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) held its first meeting under the chairmanship of Ministry of Commerce and Textile Secretary Hassan Iqbal on Thursday.
Representatives of provincial governments, the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association, Karachi Cotton Association, Pakistan Oil Mills Association, Trading Corporation of Pakistan and progressive growers took part in the meeting.
Following thorough discussions, the CCAC unanimously agreed in its assessment that the cotton crop for 2017 would stand at 12.6 million bales, lower than the target of 14.04 million bales, as suggested by initial estimates.
Punjab will produce 8.8 million bales, Sindh will have an output of 3.7 million bales whereas Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will produce 0.10 million bales.
Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah apprised meeting participants that the crop was planned to be planted over 3.11 million hectares (7.68 million acres) with production target at 14.04 million bales. However, sowing stood 13% lower as 2.753 million hectares (6.803 million acres) were cultivated during the current season.
He stressed that relevant departments remained proactive in training the farmers for tackling the threat posed by pink bollworm insect and leaf burning syndrome. Moreover, cotton prices were also encouraging for the farmers.
A representative of Punjab stated that the second cotton crop survey report would be released by the end of August, which would have accurate data of the area sown with the crop.
Sindh’s representative described the condition of cotton crop as good, saying second picking of the produce had also been done in lower Sindh. He expected the province to achieve the production target.
A representative of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa revealed that around 1,800 acres had been planted with cotton crop in Dera Ismail Khan. He asked the government to support the farmers by ensuring supply of quality seeds, fertiliser and pesticides at subsidised rates and making procurement arrangements.
Commerce and Textile Secretary Hassan Iqbal insisted that the government was making all efforts to boost cotton production with equal support measures for all stakeholders.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Textile Industry was working to establish the National Textile University in all four provinces for technology upgrading and skill development.
Moreover, the ministry has also asked Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to set up a cotton ginning factory in DI Khan at the earliest in an attempt to facilitate the farmers in cotton procurement.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017.
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