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LAHORE: The market remained dull on Saturday. The trading volume remained low. Cotton Analyst Naseem Usman told that fluctuation was observed in international cotton market. He also said that the rate of cotton in Punjab and Sindh is in between Rs 18000 to Rs 21,000 per maund.

Punjab is facing extreme canal water shortage of up to 79 percent over planned quota, while the newly installed provincial government seems least bothered about the situation, claimed farmer representatives. Cotton sowing in many areas in South Punjab is three to four weeks behind schedule due to abnormal drop in canal water.

Despite improvement in Indus and Kabul Rivers, water is not being supplied to South Punjab canals, further exacerbating scarcity of water in the parched fields, said Farooq Bajwa, Founding Convenor, Punjab Water Council here Friday.

“Amid the hottest summer ever, we are made to bear the brunt of drought situation in the absence of much-needed canal supplies,” he said, and added that “our hardships multiply when we see deafening silence at the helm of affairs over one of the most burning issues of Punjab outback, comprising Bahawalpur Division along Cholistan Desert. Are we not equal citizens of the province or country?”

The farmers of Punjab, especially those living in the south, comprising core cotton growing area, feel alienated when it comes to water availability for drinking as well as irrigation purposes. Currently, from Chairman, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to Federal Minister for Water Resources, regulations of river supplies are being governed and managed by persons belonging to Sindh.

At provincial level, with PML-N government focusing mostly on urban areas, rural population was being given a miss in meeting their pressing needs, Bajwa lamented.

Canals in Punjab were facing extreme shortfall. Taunsa canals (DGK and MZG) were getting 3,000 cusecs against 12,000 cusecs demand, showing 75 percent shortfall. Similarly, Panjnad was also getting 3,000 cusecs against 14,000 cusecs demands, registering 79 percent shortfall.

Trimmu canal was getting 8,700 cusecs against the demand of 17,000 cusecs, showing 49 percent shortfall. Bahawal canal shortfall was 78 percent as it was receiving just 1,100 cusecs against 5,052 cusecs.

Bilal Israel, Director Farmers Associates of Pakistan (FAP), hailing from Rahim Yar Khan, was of the view that cotton sowing in Rahim Yar Khan, prime silver lint producing area of the country was braving the driest conditions on record due to extremely low canal supplies.

He said there was zero flow of river diversions from Indus Zone to South Punjab as Taunsa-Punjnad Link Canal (TP Link) and Chashma-Jhelum Link (CJ Link) were still closed.

He regretted that Punjab’s growers were toiling in the broiling sun amid extreme canal water shortage and were unable to meet irrigation requirements at crucial sowing and early plantation stage.

No one at water regulation stage was bothered about their problems. As South Punjab reels under severe heat-wave conditions, water shortage becomes unbearable.

Low flows have exacerbated the situation to unbearable levels, he observed. Despite of having surplus water available in Indus and Kabul Rivers, Punjab Indents were not being met, he claimed.

Meanwhile, ICE cotton futures extended declines to fall more than 2% in a technical selloff on Friday accelerated by worries over demand for the natural fiber.

Cotton contracts for July fell 4.11 cents, or 2.8%, to 144.62 cents per lb at 12:12 p.m. EDT.

The contract is on course for a 0.4% dip for the week, in volatile price action that saw it trade at limit-down in the previous session as the dollar rallied, a day after soaring to an 11-year peak on supply concerns.

“We’re seeing some liquidation in the market and there is nothing to stop it... People are trying to go back to where the prices were and some are trying to lock in some bargains as well,” said Jim Nunn, owner of Tennessee-based cotton brokerage Nunn Cotton. “We might see some demand destruction as there is no cotton left to deliver.”

US stock indexes extended losses for a second day as elevated Treasury yields dragged growth shares after stronger-than-expected jobs data amplified investor fears of bigger interest rate hikes to tame surging prices. Cotton’s retreat could also be a “flu from the stock market; a drop there is bound to roll over and affect the commodities,” Nunn added.

Further weighing on sentiment, Chicago wheat futures slid 1% on Friday but the market was on track for a weekly gain with tightening world supplies supporting prices.

The US Department of Agriculture’s report on Thursday showed net sales of 232,400 running bales of cotton for 2021/2022, up 92% from the previous week and noticeably higher than the prior 4-week average.

The Spot Rate remained unchanged at Rs 21000 per maund. Polyester Fiber was available at Rs 290 per kg.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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