By admin       2016-09-27

Monday, 26 September 2016 - ISLAMABAD: The country is likely to face a shortfall of 4 million bales in cotton crop production in the current season (2016-17) which may cause loss of about 0.5 percent to GDP growth rate, sources revealed to Business Recorder. According to official sources the prospects of cotton crop for the current season (2016-17) are not very bright and the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) has already slashed cotton production estimates by 20 percent ie to 11.27 million bales against the initial estimates of 14.1 million bales. According to the economic survey 2015-16 agriculture sector growth declined by 0.19 percent, primarily on account of decline in cotton crop production by 27.8 percent, which according to Finance Minister had caused 0.5 percent to GDP growth. The situation in the current season is not much different from that of last year as the country is likely to produce around 10 million bales cotton in the current season, sources added. Ashfaq Hasan Khan, former economic adviser to Finance Ministry told Business Recorder that cotton makes a major contribution to GDP which is evident from the fact that whenever cotton crop production was missed GDP growth rate did not cross the 3 percent growth rate mark. According to estimates one million bales of cotton contributes about 0.5 percent to GDP, however last year the government fudged the figures and despite a 30 percent shortfall in cotton crop only 0.5 percent impact was shown to achieve the desired 4.7 percent growth rate, Khan added. The government has revised cotton production target downward as well as area and fixed it 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 2015-16. The country has missed cotton sowing target by a wide margin of 15 percent in the current crop season. Further due to uncertainty about cotton prices, increased sugarcane cultivation in the cotton areas and shortage of certified seed significant decline in cotton sowing was registered. 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 on 0.12 million acres and was targeted to produce 0.04 million cotton bales, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was targeted to cover about 74000 acres and produce 0.0015 million cotton bales. CCAC revised downward cotton production estimates for Punjab to 7.5 million bales against the initial estimates of 9.5 million, Sindh 3.73 million bales against 4.5 million, Balochistan 0.038 million bales against initial estimates of 0.098 million bales and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.001 million bales against 0.0015 million bales. According to sources sugarcane crop has overtaken the cotton rich areas of the province including Rahimyar Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargar and Lodhra. Cotton sowing also declined due to lower prices of cotton nationally and internationally during the last three years that discouraged growers who opted to cultivate maize, sugarcane and rice crops in some districts of Punjab due to their better market returns. Upto 50 percent certified cotton seed was available in the market and growers faced difficulties in getting certified seed, hence affected sowing target, official maintained.

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