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KARACHI: The country’s top export - textile sector on Wednesday sought the government’s priority towards the increase of a sizeable cultivation area of cotton crop and its output growth to safeguard the local yarn market.

Pakistan’s entire apparel textile sector relies widely on the local cotton production and manufacturing of yarn to meet its global orders, makers and exporters said.

“Due to decline in cotton production, the production of value added textile sector has suffered a lot owing to unavailability of yarn,” Muhammad Javed Bilwani, the Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum, said.

Dangerously, he said, Pakistan’s cotton crop has shrunk to 8.5 million bales, while India’s production has grown to around 29 million bales. Government should adopt policies that are being followed by the neighbouring country to increase cotton production, he said.

The textile sector is unclear to strike fresh deals for global orders since new cotton yarn is unavailable to meet the daunting manufacturing demands, he feared.

Citing the PCGA report till November 15, 2020, he said, Pakistan could only help reach 4.02 million bales to ginneries and termed it ‘extremely’ low as compared to 6.85 million bales last year, showing a fall of 41.27 percent.

The cotton crop is considered as white gold. However, the production of cotton is facing a declining trend with every passing year. “The declining trend is not only inflicting damage to the country’s economy but also affecting the farmers and other people associated with this business,” he said.

The major causes of fall includes: Reduction in cotton cultivation area and per acre production, low quality of seeds and farmers shifting their focus towards other crops due to lack of government’s support, he said.

He said that the alarming shortfall has brought devastating effects to the textile exports and demanded of the government to pay immediate attention by taking immediate short term solutions besides medium and long term measures to beat the long-running crisis.

He proposed a concrete policy with the consultation of value added textile representatives to scale up the cotton output to meet the growing demand of the value added textile industry.

The value added textile exporters, which contribute approximately 54 percent in the country’s total exports, provides nearly 40 percent of the urban employment particularly to female workforce and earns largest foreign exchange for Pakistan, should be heard deeply to end the problems.

“The Government must immediately take notice of provision of sub-standard cotton seeds to farmers by the suppliers and strict action must be taken against them as exporters see that supplying sub-standard seeds to farmers is an act against the interest of Pakistan,” Bilwani said.

So as to prevent the local inputs market from further jolts, he said, the government should permit import of yarn without any customs and regulatory duties since it has already allowed cotton.

“Pakistan should expand cotton crop cultivation area to meet the requirement of the Value Added Textile Export Industry,” he said, showing concerns that Pakistan’s textile exports cannot grow if cotton production is stagnant.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020


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