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KARACHI: The bullish trend remained continued in both national and international cotton markets. The cotton sowing is going to be started very soon but no strategy is seen for increasing the production of cotton. Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association and brokers have been activated. Farmer organizations and related government departments and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and Karachi Cotton Association should play their role for increasing the production of cotton. Industrialists were worried due to continuous increase in imports and suspension of gas supply.

In the local cotton market during the last week bullish trend was witnessed because of continuous buying by the textile and spinning mills of the good quality cotton. The trading volume remained satisfactory as ginners were selling cotton because they were getting reasonable rates. The rate of good quality cotton reached at Rs 11000 per maund which is highest in ten years.

It is difficult that rate of cotton will come down as there are chances that it will increase because the production of cotton is very low as well as the increasing rates of cotton in international cotton market.

Majority of the textile mills have signed agreements for the import of cotton in abundance due to which their buying is low but the mills which still have the capacity are present in the market. On the other hand the rate of polyester fibre is also increasing.

The government raises energy prices every day, and the biggest problem is that government has approved the suspension of gas in industry which is getting gas from the captive power plants. The government has also approved the suspension of gas supply to export sector from March 1. Council of All Pakistan Textile Association has opposed the decision of suspension of gas supply to all value added sector.

The rate of cotton in Sindh is in between Rs 10200 to Rs 10700 per maund. The rate of Phutti is in between Rs 4000 to Rs 4900 per 40 kg. The rate of Banola is in between Rs 1600 to Rs 1900 per maund. The rate of cotton in Punjab is in between Rs 10300 to Rs 11000 per maund. The rate of Phutti is in between Rs 4000 to Rs 5500 per 40 kg. The rate of Banola is in between Rs 1700 to Rs 2200 per maund while the rate of Phutti which is only available in Dalbadin district is in between Rs 5500 to Rs 5600 per 40 kg.

The spot rate committee of the Karachi Cotton Association increased the rate of cotton by Rs 200 per maund and closed it at Rs 10800 per maund.

Chairman Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Naseem Usman told that bullish trend remained continued in the international cotton markets especially the rate of New York Cotton reached at the level of 82 American cents per pound. The weekly export report of USDA shows 10% decline in exports due to which it is expected that rates remained stable. This time instead of importing China had cancelled the deals of importing 22000 bales of cotton. The bullish trend remained continued in the rate of cotton in Brazil and Central Asian states especially the rate of cotton remained stable in India where cotton is prepared in abundance from the crop of 2020-21.

The crop is also satisfactory in India. The ginners and the cotton farmers got much relief in India because Cotton Corporation of India bought Phutti from farmers in huge quantity in the minimum support price announced by the government as well as they bought cotton from ginners also.

More over government of India also gave incentives to the farmers and ginners in order to encourage them but in Pakistan government did not give much incentive to the farmers and ginners while there is also shortage of good quality seeds and pesticides due to which both ginners and farmers are disheartened.

According to Naseem Usman many stake holders related to cotton business are demanding from the government that strategy should be evolved on war footing to increase the production of cotton. Up till now only PCGA and brokers are active. It is the need of the hour that farmers organisations, relevant government departments, APTMA and Karachi Cotton Association should made all out efforts for increasing the production of cotton in the country. The days of cotton sowing are coming but no body looks serious.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had constituted a Cotton Task Force under the chair of central leader APTMA Goher Ejaz. According to Gohar he will start effort for increasing the production of cotton with the support of five big textile groups. They will bring technology from abroad but no practical step was seen in this regard. Gohar Ejaz should give up date to the stake holders who are very much worried.

PCGA is trying it’s best to increase the production of cotton in the country and also trying to solve the issues faced by ginners.

In this regard they organised a cotton seminar in Islamabad two months back which was attended by Advisor to Prime Minister on trade Abdul Razak Dawood and minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam in their speeches clearly said that government was not interested in increasing the production of cotton.

Naseem Usman told that after the seminar he told Chairman PCGA Dr Jasu Mal that seminar will not be of any use as the Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam had made it clear in his address that we will not allow import of cotton seeds but we will make cotton seeds indigenously.

The question is when? On the other hand Advisor to Prime Minister on trade Abdul Razak Dawood said that cotton is not silver crop it is golden but he clarified that government has no plan of announcing support price of cotton. Both the ministers refuse to do anything then what is left behind.

Naseem Usman further told that for the last three months we are giving suggestions for increasing the production of cotton in the country through columns and for the last two months we have been saying that if a positive policy is not formulated to increase cotton production and if serious steps are not taken, the next cotton production will be further reduced.

We have been giving warning to the government officials that it is a situation like “Now or Never” because cotton growers have suffered tremendously over the years and if they move on to other crops, it will be very difficult to convince them that they will harvest cotton crop.

He also said that friends such as Major Muhammad Kashif, Ahsan Ul Haq are very active and giving suggestions for increasing the production of cotton but the time for giving suggestions is going to be over. It’s time for the government departments that they should show seriousness and evolve a strategy. Putting pressure can solve the problem.

The PCGA held a crowded press conference at Karachi Press Club and in Multan last week in which the following suggestions and demands were put forward to increase cotton production in the country.

The demands include that government should take immediate steps to save the ginning industry from destruction and save the jobs of millions of workers. Secondly government should constitute cotton board immediately and set the target of production of two crore bales. Cotton crop zoning should be made mandatory and it should be implemented in letter and spirit. Government should announce cotton support price and ensure availability of certified cotton seed.

Due to low cotton production over all products of 8 billion dollars will be imported. In order to

fulfil the needs 80 lac bales - cotton worth 3 billion dollars - will be imported.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021