ISLAMABAD: Textile value-added sector has urged the government to allow duty-free cotton yarn to reduce cost of production and increase the country's exports.

Talking to Business Recorder, Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum, said that the government's lack of priority and attention to increase cotton yield to support the entire value-added textile chain was highly shocking and deplorable.

He further said that Pakistan was an agriculture country but no concrete steps and measures along with productive policy had been witnessed from successive governments during the last several decades to uplift per hectare yield of the agriculture produce particularly of cotton.

Bilwani, in a joint statement with Mohammad Riaz Ahmed, Central Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association, stated that it was alarming that as per USDA Cotton Statistics, during last decade, Pakistan's cotton production decreased by approximately 35.42 percent from 9.60 million 480 lb bales in 2009-2010 to 6.20 million 480 lb bales in 2019-2020, cotton cultivation area per million hectare has decreased by approximately 18.33 percent from three in 2009-2010 to 2.45 in 2019-2020, cotton yield decreased by approximately 20.95 percent from 697 per kg/hectare in 2009-2010 to 551 per kg/hectare in 2019-2020, purportedly due to supply of substandard cotton seeds to farmers, which has caused colossal losses to the nation in terms of water loss, land loss, labour loss, yield loss, electricity loss beside financial losses to farmers.

They further stated that as per USDA Cotton Statistics, India has increased its cotton production by 28.26 percent from 23 million 480 lb bales in 2009-10 to 29.50 million 480 lb bales in 2019-20, cotton cultivation area million hectare has increased by around 29 percent from 10.31 in 2009-10 to 13.30 in 2019-20 and cotton yield decreased by around 0.62 percent from 486 per kg/hectare in 2009-10 to 483 per kg/hectare in 2019-20.

Further, cotton yield kg per hectare during 2019-20 in Australia is 2268, Brazil is 1759, Turkey is 1318 and USA is 922.

Huge export orders are available with the value-added textile but exporters are unable to take orders due to unavailability of cotton yarn in the country on competitive prices.

The government must immediately take notice of providing substandard cotton seeds to farmers by the suppliers and strict action must be taken against them as exporters see that supplying substandard seeds to farmers is an act against the interest of Pakistan.

Such state of affairs demands the government to allow import of 32 single yarn and below without any duties and taxes and the exporters, manufacturers and importers, will be given full liberty to import yarn from any country till the scarcity of cotton yarn is controlled and required quantity of yarn is available in abundance in all Pakistani markets to complete the export order smoothly.

The government should also allow import of cotton from neighbouring countries.

It is also crucial that the government should take all practical moves and steps to increase the national cotton produce aligned with the targets set for enhancement of textile exports in the Strategic Trade Policy Framework.

Pakistan should expand cultivation area and improve its cotton yield to meet the requirement of the value-added textile export industry which contribute around 54 percent in total exports, provide highest urban employment particularly to female workforce and supports around 40 allied industries.

The government should also give subsidy to those growers who will increase the yield as well as cultivation area per hectare on yearly basis.

They said that our value-added textile sector is reeling under immense pressure of high costs of doing business, rising utility rates and several other problems.

Further, huge number of weaving industries has already closed down and this spiralling prices and unavailability of cotton yarn will crucify exports of value-added textile, which will lead to further closures of large number of export-oriented units.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020


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