Cotton the main pillar of Pakistan's economy is sure
to give a strong support to the textile industry as the current crop is
sure to go beyond the targets this year.
Though the correct estimation of the current cotton
crop is positive to cross the mark of 11 million bales yet the exact
size of the crop has become a talking point due to different views about
the size of the crop. The active players in the cotton business are
however sure that a rich cotton crop is estimated this year. Handsome
arrivals during past two months are enough to substantiate the estimates
for a good crop this year.
Wahid Balagamwala, one of the leading ginners while
commenting on different views about the size of the crop told PAGE that
sometimes reports about decline is purposely unleashed by big cotton
players to get a better price of their holdings. Brushing aside all
speculations about the decline in the cotton crop, Wahid however
regretted that despite a good cotton crop the present elected government
is not honouring the cotton policy in letter and spirit. Elaborating his
allegations, he said that the government had offered certain premiums to
the growers as well as the ginners for producing contamination free
cotton. Despite production of contamination free cotton no premium has
been given so far neither to the growers nor the ginners. This attitude
he regretted giving way to the apprehensions that this government is
deviating from the set policies of the previous set up of the
government. He expressed the hope that the present elected government
would ensure consistency of the policy to get a better cotton crop in
future also. The province of Balochistan which has been added in the
cotton cultivation scheme is producing much better results and has the
yielded a crop of 40,000-50,000 bales of contamination free cotton and
better staple this year.
Although the area under cultivation has been reduced
as compared to the area last year, however the crop is certain to
surpass the figures of last year. It is said that previously the per
acre yield which was somewhere 15 maunds has jumped to the level 22
maunds owing to favourable climate conditions, use of better pesticides,
fertilizer and overall crop management.
Regarding the government intervention into the cotton
business, it is said that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan which was
suppose to lift cotton at the rate of Rs2000 per maund fixed by the
government could not lift even a single bale out of the market as the
growers are getting much better price ranging from Rs2100 to Rs2150 per
maund. That is a good sign for market stability.
Wahid said that chance for export of cotton is also
bright this year due to improved international prices. He said that
Pakistan exported cotton of lower grade to Bangladesh recently at a
price of 50 cents a pound. He said that there was good demand for cotton
in the international market where prices are quoted over 52 cent a
pound, however higher prices in the local market are not allowing to
transpire more business. He said that at present the total demand of
cotton in the local textile industry is estimated around 12 million
bales which are likely to grow in the coming years due to increasing
textile exports from Pakistan. He expressed the hope that the government
will take care and protect the interest of the growers as well as the
ginners to ensure good cotton crops in future also.
As far as the current cotton crop was concern, if the
pace of arrivals of cotton is maintained next month, the production
would be far more than last year's production of 10.3 million ex-gin
Punjab has registered an increase of 14 per cent to
6,777,390 bales meaning additional production of 841,728 bales.
Cotton crop in Sindh is reported to have surpassed
the production target of 2 million bales by 0.186 million domestic size
bales. Despite reduction of 5.93 per cent in area under cotton
cultivation, as compared to last year recorded last year, the overall
cotton production has improved significantly due to better crop
management. Ghotki district has topped the production list with 0.558
million bales, followed by Sanghar, Khanpur, Naushero Feroze and
The seed-cotton arrivals at Sindh ginners slowed down
but the price of seed cotton, cotton-seed and oil cakes retain stable.
The seed cotton price was quoted at Rs850 to 1000 per 40 kg and the
growers and ginners are expecting a fair dividend this year.
Despite Sindh government intention to impose ban on
import of Niab-78 seed from Punjab and to develop its own seed, Punjab
buyers continue to make heavy purchases of Niab-78 from Sindh. The
import of cotton also continues and about 500,000 cotton bales have been
booked while 85,000 bales have already been imported this year 2002-03.
The export of cotton has done little job in this
season despite good price waiting in the international market. So far,
45,000 bales have been booked for sale to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and
Indonesia. However, only 9,264 bales have been shipped outside the
Pakistan cotton is available at 45 cents a pound in
the international market, compared to 51.5 cents per pound of US cotton
indicating competitive edge over the US cotton in the market.