The economic managers
have chalked out a new strategy for enhancing cotton production to the
level of 1.5 million bales to meet the growing demand of the local
The consumption of cotton
is gradually increasing in Pakistan as the textile sector which used
around 9 million bales previously has crossed the consumption even to 12
million bales this year.
In order to produce yarn
of finer counts, the industry imported over 1.2 million during the years
while the forecast for next year is said to be much more than the
current level of consumption hence the industry would have to meet the
requirement by importing the quality cotton.
The eruption of Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in cotton producing countries
especially China has resulted in the shortfall of cotton in the world
commodity as the buyers are naturally avoiding to place orders for
purchase of cotton from China. Consequently, the prices as well as
demand for raw cotton is on the increase in the world market. The cotton
prices in the world market which used revolve around 50-52 cents have
jumped over 62 cents a pound. The increase in price was naturally an
attraction for the local producers which may lead to register an
increase in export of raw cotton from Pakistan despite strong opposition
by the textile industry which pleads for cotton for local industry
first. During the current year the total export of cotton was estimated
at 213,246 bales.
According to plan for
producing more cotton which consist of improving yield per unit area and
the rehabilitation of cotton cultivation in former cotton zones such as
Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Jhang and Toba Tek Sindh district
Currently, the main
producer of cotton is the province of Punjab while the contribution of
other provinces in cotton production despite having rich lands for
cultivation the share of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP was nominal mainly
due to water shortage.
The areas selected for
cotton production on the virgin lands of Balochistan have shown
tremendous results with the produce of long staple, contamination free
quality cotton. Encouraged with the results, the authorities have
planned to earmark more lands for cultivation of the cash crop in
Balochistan, Sindh and NWFP provinces.
The new areas for
cultivation of good quality cotton are currently under investigation in
Balochistan and NWFP and Right Bank of River Indus in Sindh.
There are strong
expectations that as a result of efforts under new strategy, Balochistan
will produce cotton equivalent to Sindh, as encouraging results have
been achieved from there. Hopes are also bright in NWFP.
Cotton production at the
end of the current season is estimated as over 10 million bales despite
a decline in the area under cultivation.
Pakistan Cotton Ginners
Association (PCGA) has said that the country's total production has gone
up by 11.2 per cent compared to last year, to make the total of 8.736
Punjab has registered an
increase of 15 per cent to 67,77,390 bales meaning additional production
of 841,728 bales. Sindh has registered improvement of 2.17 per cent to
19,55,989 bales during the current season. The production capacity of
Balochistan and Sindh are the special part of the scheme to enhance the
target of cotton production to the level of 1.5 million bales.
Besides using modern
techniques for enhancing per acre yield, the strategy also emphasis to
enhance loaning facility to the farming sector all over the country.
Under the financial arrangement for the farming sector, the commercial
banks have already increased their share for the agriculture sector and
disbursed Rs15 billion among the farmers during the first 9 months of
the current financial year. This shows an increase of 28.3 per cent over
the previous year when the commercial banks had disbursed Rs11.7
The overall farm credit disbursement
from public and private financial sector witnessed a rapid increase
during the fiscal year as it grew by 113.6 per cent and 142.5 per cent
when compared with the same period of 2001-2002. As a result of healthy
rate of return, the commercial banks have found the farming sector as an
attractive area for lending, hence the banking sector in the private
sector is showing greater interest by enhancing the farming credit to
the level of Rs21.30 billion. The banks, which are active in agriculture
lending, include National Bank, Habib Bank, Muslim Commercial Bank and
Allied Bank. This significant increase in commercial banks' credit to
the farmers is being attributed to the revamping of the farm loan
schemes and other measures taken by the central bank.
Cotton is the major cash crop catering
55 per cent domestic edible oil requirements of the country and
providing raw material to 1000 ginneries and 444 textile mills where
millions of people earn their livelihood. Cotton also shares 60 per cent
of total export value of the country.