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Cotton production: CCAC raises estimate to 12.598 million bales

The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) has revised upward the current season (2011-12) cotton production estimate to 12.598 million bales against the initial estimate of 12.22 million bales. The decision was taken in the CCAC's meeting held here on Tuesday, with Minister for Textile Industry Shahabuddin in the chair. In its previous meeting, the CCAC had estimated cotton production at 12.22 million bales.

This was, however, rejected by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA). After detailed deliberations on various aspects of cotton production, the committee reached the decision that cotton production of 12.598 million bales (of 170 kg) ie 2.14 million tons, from 6,920,646 acres is expected this year.

According to the projection, Punjab will produce 10.1 million bales (1.717 million tons) from 6210000 acres; Sindh will produce 2.4 million bales (0.40800 million tons) from 664000 acres; Balochistan will produce 0.092 million bales (0.0157 million tons) from 41,446 acres; and Khyber-Pakhtukhwa is projected to produce 0.006 million bales (0.00102 million tons) from 5200 acres.

The Ministry of Textile Industry informed the participants of the committee that cotton crop was sown on 0.65 million hectares in Sindh and 2.5 million hectares in Punjab. Moreover, this year, cotton crop was planted on 0.67 percent and 12.25 percent above the targets area set for Punjab and Sindh, respectively.

Members representing Aptma and KCA were of the opinion that crop volume would remain equivalent to the first estimate ie 12.22 million bales. This was not accepted by majority of the members who were of the view that the estimates provided by the Provincial Agriculture Departments should be relied upon as these were based on a recognised methodology. The committee was informed that 11.03 million bales had already arrived so far at the ginneries.

The Minister expressed concern over the use of high risk pesticides and emphasised on ensuring appropriate quality and safety in pest management in cotton. He also asked cotton growers to put all their efforts to enhance yield per acre as it is still very much lower than that of leading cotton producing countries of the world.

He added that current low prices could only compensate those farmers who get higher yield and make their cotton cultivation more economically feasible. It is further added that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a widely recognised agency in world crop estimates, assessed Pakistan's cotton crop volume at 12.80 million bales.

The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee will review the estimates at its next meeting to be convened during in the last week of January 2012. Shahid Rashid, Secretary, Ministry of Textile Industry, representatives of Provincial Governments, Plant Protection Department, Trading Co-operation of Pakistan (TCP), Cotton Growers, Chairman Karachi Cotton Association (KCA), Vice Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), and Vice President Pakistan Central Cotton Committee attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011