May 12 - 18, 2008

LAHORE: The cotton crop arrivals at the ginneries across the country have been recorded at 11.352 million bales till May 1, showing a shortfall of 8.52 per cent. Last year the production on May 1 (2007) stood at 12.410 million bales.

Initially, the official production target of the silver fibre for the current season had been fixed at 14.10 million bales. Later, it was revised to 12.5 million bales and again it was revised downwardly to 11.6 million bales.

At the moment, only 11 ginning factories are operating-that too in Punjab. In Sindh, no ginnery is functioning at present. A total of about 1000 cotton factories operate in the peak season in Punjab and Sindh.

According to a spokesman of the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), arrival of cotton at ginneries in Punjab was recorded at 8.831 million bales, as compared to last year's 10.090 million bales. Thus the shortage has been computed at 12.47 per cent.

In Sindh province, the arrival of cotton was recorded at 2.521 million bales, compared to 2.320 million bales last year. The excess has been computed at 8.66 per cent.

The textile mill owners have so far procured 10.702 million bales compared to last year's 11.884 million bales in Punjab and Sindh.

The exporters have purchased 1,16,326 bales to date, as compared to 1,17,557 bales last year.

The unsold lint and phutti stocks have been computed at 0.535 million bales as compared to last year's 0.408 million bales.

The approximate existing rate of good quality lint is Rs 3,600 per maund and that of seed-cotton or phutti is Rs 1750 per 40 kg. The government's support price for phutti is Rs 1050 per 40 kg.

According to agriculturists, excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides are harmful for the crops and would lead to decrease in production.

They said that organic farming was a focused activity in the world which is environmentally responsible approach to produce high-quality food and fiber. Pakistan imported pesticides five times more than to that of during last year to control cotton pests for increasing production, however, production went down due to excessive use of pesticide.

Organic farming needs certification to access the international markets for which the certified institutions have to play their effective role to develop organic farming in the country, they said.

It may be mentioned that organic farming makes up the largest growth sector in the agriculture industry and attracts a rich market. Organic food sales totaled approximately $ 12 billion in 2005. Despite significant growth in the organic food sector, research has to play an important role to keep pace with ongoing activities in the field or organic farming in the world.