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ISLAMABAD: The revised cotton production target of 9.3 million bales set for the for 2021-22 is expected to be met or even exceed, as the total cotton arrivals stood at 5.208 million bales, which are 94 percent higher than the arrivals on the same date last year, said the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) in September 2021 had revised downward the cotton production target by 19.5 percent, ie, from 10.5 million bales set for 2021-22 to 8.46 million bales, after missing the sowing target by 13.4 percent.

However, later in October 2021, the CCAC revised upward, the crop production to 9.374 million bales for the crop season 2021-22. The sowing target was set at 2.310 million hectares; however, cotton was sown on 1.871 million hectares i.e. 83.2 percent of the sowing target was achieved.

According to official documents, Punjab cultivated cotton on 1.279 million hectares against the target of 1.610 million hectares, i.e., missed by around 21 percent. Sindh was projected to cultivate cotton on 0.640 million hectares, but 93 percent target was achieved, ie, 0.592 million hectares were cultivated.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan were projected to cultivate cotton on 0.0022 million hectares and 0.070 million hectares, respectively. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, said that the total cotton arrivals as of October15, 2021 was 5.208 million bales, which are 94 percent higher than the arrivals on the same date last year.

He said the revised target for this year of 9.3 million bales is expected to be met or even exceed. Arrivals in ginning factories in Sindh and Punjab are 99 percent and 87 percent higher than those of last year, respectively. The minister advised farmers to pay close attention to clean picking practices to attain higher cotton grades, so that they can obtain import parity price.

He further advised farmers to keep a close eye on weather forecasts to timely adjust field operations to avoid losses. He warned market speculators to refrain from spreading rumours about production figures to create market instability.

He reiterated that the government is all set for intervention, if the prices dropped below the policy price threshold. The minister said that the government's focus on cotton revival through input subsidies, provision of better quality seed with higher germination rates, and intervention price policy of Rs5,000/40kg, is bearing fruit.

Higher cotton prices are significantly raising incomes of farmers. He said that hard work of cotton farmers and conducive weather have helped with higher yields as well as production. Higher cotton production this year will considerably increase textile output and exports, edible oil from cotton seed, cotton cake for animal feed, and fuel wood for rural households.

Income of cotton pickers, largely women, will also increase substantially. Higher cotton production this year, with its multiplier effect on the economy, will boost the GDP, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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