By admin       2016-07-25

Pakistan has missed the cotton sowing target by a wide margin of 21 percent in the current crop season. As a result, the country would miss the production target of 14.1 million bales by over 25 percent. The official sources at the Ministry of Textile Industry revealed to Business Recorder that cotton crop prospects for the current season (2016-17) are not very bright as sowing target has been missed by a big margin of 21 percent.They said that due to uncertainty of cotton prices, increased sugarcane cultivation in the cotton areas, and shortage of certified seed decline in cotton sowing was registered. The government has downward revised cotton production target as well as area and fixed at 14.1 million bales from 7.4 million acres for the season 2016-17 against 15.49 million bales from 7.7 million acres estimated for the just concluded season 2015-16.The country missed the crop production target by around 30 percent in 2015-16 and it remained around 10 million bales, which according to Finance Minister caused a loss of 0.5 percent to GDP growth. Punjab was expected to produce 9.5 million cotton bales from 5.9 million acres, Sindh had to cover 1.6 million acres and was estimated to produce 4.5 million cotton bales, Balochistan had to grow cotton at its 0.12 million acres and targeted to produce 0.4 million cotton bales while Khyber Pakhtunkhawa had targeted to cover about 74000 acres and to produce 0.0015 million cotton bales.According to the officials figure, cotton has been sown on 5.9 million acres of land in the current season across the country against 7.1 million acres during the same period of last year. The sowing target has been missed by 21 percent, official added. The sources said that decline in cotton sowing was recorded in Punjab which is the major cotton producing province. Punjab which produces about 70 percent of the total cotton has been hit hard as 4.3 million acres has so far been covered against 5.5 million acres during the same period of last year. It is 75 percent of the target for current season but remained 22 percent less as compared to the previous season.According to sources, the sugarcane crop has overtaken the cotton rich areas of the province including Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and Lodhran. Cotton sowing also declined due to lower prices of cotton nationally and internationally during the last three years that discouraged growers and they opted to cultivate maize, sugarcane and rice crops in some districts of Punjab due to their better market returns. There is still uncertainty as ups and downs is being observed in cotton prices due to which growers are reluctant to sow cotton crop, they added.Up to 50 percent certified cotton seed was available in the market and growers faced difficulties in getting certified seed, hence this affected sowing target, official maintained. According to official, cotton has been sown on 1.57 million acres in Sindh province against 1.5 million acres during the same period of last year. It is 96 percent of the target set for the current season and surpassed the last year target by 2.4 percent.Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah told Business Recorder that 80 percent of the target for current season has so far been achieved. Due to shortfall as well as delay in cotton sowing, production would be negatively affected, said the Commissioner.

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