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KARACHI: The chances of increasing the production of cotton brighten with better availability of water for the cotton crop. Ministry of National Food Security and Research has proposed to fix the support price of Phutti at Rs 6000 per 40 kg but the farmers and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association are saying that support price of Phutti should be Rs 8000 per 40 kg. Punjab expects that sowing area of cotton will be increased from 4 million acres to 4.5 million acres if the availability of water for cotton crop is increased.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has accused power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) of not giving new connections or enhancing connections of existing units due to which production has reduced by up to 25 per cent.

In the local cotton market during the last week there was some trading activity but it was not reported. Overall a bullish trend prevails in the market. There are reports that traders are selling cotton at Rs 21500 to Rs 23000 per maund in the market but the trading volume remains low. The reason behind bullish trend in the market is high rate of dollar. Bullish trend is prevailing in the international market after some fluctuation.

The Rate of Future Trading of New York cotton was stable but unprecedented increase was recorded in the rate of cotton in India during the last week. During the last week the rate of cotton in India increased by Rs 35000 per candy. The trading of Shankar 6 qualify cotton crossed Rs one lac despite of the fact that the Indian government had lifted 11 percent imposed import duty on cotton till September and there are rumours that government of India is considering to impose ban on export of cotton.

According to the reports received from India some mills had reduced their working hours. Many mills are using polyester fibre. Although, textile mills in Tamil Nadu are closing their operations because there is disparity in cotton yarn as compared to cotton.

However, in Pakistan situation is different but in some areas there are complains of power shortages. Financial crisis is also increasing.

It is expected that cotton production will be effected due to rise in temperature and water scarcity. However, it is expected that supply of water will improve in coming days. According to the information cultivation area will be increased as compared to last season. Although, a summary had been sent to the Economic Coordination Committee to fix the support price of Phutti at Rs 6000 per 40 Kg but the private sector and APTMA has appealed to the government to fix the support price of Phutti at Rs 8000 per 40 kg.

The price of cotton in Punjab and Sindh, which is available in very limited quantity, is in between Rs 20000 to Rs 23000 per maund. The Spot Rate Committee of Karachi Cotton Association has kept stable the rate at Rs 21000 per maund. There was a record increase in the rate of Khal.

Chairman Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Naseem Usman told that the overall bullish trend prevails in the international cotton market. The rate of New York Cotton is stable after fluctuation. According to the weekly export report of USDA more than 27000 bales of 2021-22 were sold which is 88 percent less as compared to last week. India was on number one with 19,800 bales.

While for the year 2022-23 ninety thousand six hundred bales were sold. El Salvador was on number one with more than 28,000 bales.

Considering the cost of production and expected international price scenarios of future markets, Ministry of National Food Security and Research has proposed to revise intervention price of seed cotton (Phutti) to Rs6000 per 40 kg for crop season 2022-23.

The proposal also aimed at reviving cotton production in the country, bring stability in domestic market and ensure fair return to the farmers for their produces, said an senior official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Talking to media here on Wednesday, he said that the ministry has also proposed for constituting a Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) with mandate to review market prices and propose intervention at fortnightly bases.

He said that the proposals would be submitted in the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Cabinet for approval that would help to develop and promote declining major cash crop for achieving sustainable agriculture development and prosperity of the farming communities across the crop sowing areas in the country.

The CPRC would regularly monitor the cotton prices in the main domestic markets of Punjab and Sindh, as well as, those in the international markets and issue a brief price report at weekly interval, he said, adding that under the suggested framework, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) would intervene to buy up to 2 million bales of lint cotton on the pre-determined price based of Rs. 6,000 per 40kg. He further informed that price intervention policy during last year (2021-22) resulted in price stability in domestic market and fair investment in crop management. He added that it also resulted in 2 million bales additional production despite that the area under crop production declined by 7%.

Balanced application of fertilizers is recommended for better cotton production.

Farmers must get soil analyzed from laboratory to get knowledge of soil strength and weaknesses to ensure balanced application of fertilizers for healthier cotton production, said the spokesman of Agriculture Department on Wednesday. He said that need-based or balanced application of fertilizers could increase cotton production by 25-30 percent.

He said that farmers having weaker soil must apply 1.75 bags of DAP, 3.5 bags of Urea, 1.5 bag of SOP or MOP per acre and the soil with medium strength would need 1.5 bags of DAP, 3.25 bags of Urea, 1.5 bag of SOP or 1.25 bags of MOP. The spokesman added that the fertile land should get 1.25 bag of DAP, 3 bags of Urea, 1.5 bags of SOP or 1.25 bags of MOP. The recommendation is meant for main cotton sowing areas including Multan, Khanewal, Vehari, Lodhran, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Sahiwal and Rahim Yar Khan, he told.

The spokesman also prescribed fertilizers application in secondary cotton sowing areas including Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Bakhar, Mianwali, Kasur, Okara and Pak Pattan.

He said that weak soil in secondary cotton areas should get 1.75 bags of DAP, 3.25 bags of Urea, 1.25 bags of SOP or one bag of MOP. Medium fertile land should get 1.5 bags of DAP, 3 bags of Urea, 1.25 bags of SOP or one bag of MOP. Fertile land should get 1.25 bags of DAP, 2.5 bags of Urea, 1.25 bags of SOP or a bag of MOP.

Farmers should apply fully recommended quantity of potassium and phosphorous fertilizers at the time of sowing. However, in case of Nitrogen, one-third of it be applied at the time of sowing, one-third at buds formation and remaining at flower stage, he added.

Despite prevailing unprecedented heat-wave and huge water shortage at the beginning of Kharif season 2022, the Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD) is hopeful not only to achieve the cotton sowing target of 4 million acres for the current season rather surpass it.

“We are hoping to achieve 4.5 million acres of land under cotton crop this season against the target of 4 million acres while producing the white gold worth US$ 3-4 billion more than the estimates,” official sources told Business Recorder here on Wednesday.

There was an issue with the water availability creating fear about hitting the crop but now there are hopes that some water will reach canals soon not as much as desired but a little bit more than the water available now due to melting of glaciers. However, Sindh is demanding that it must be given water before Punjab as its crop season is 10 days ahead of Punjab.

“But we (Punjab) are saying that shortage should be shared by all the provinces so as to facilitate the growers. Now it is up to IRSA that what decision it takes. Sindh has right on 42 per cent of the available 114 million acres feet of water on our system, they added.

Throwing light on why the department is optimist about surpassing the sowing target, the sources said that last year the yield was good while prices also inflated and growers got up to Rs 12,000 per maund against the support price of Rs 5,000 per maund. They said this year certified seed penetration is also better which till last year was only three per cent and rest was taken care by the private sector or farmer to farmer deals.

The sources said that cotton scheme launched this year was also very aggressive and the department would reach each and every cotton grower to apprise him about better agronomic practices to achieve the best yield. They said that plans are also in place to tackle different pest issues such as pink bollworm or white fly.

DG Extension (Agriculture) Punjab Dr. Anjum Ali Buttar while talking to this scribe said that though water shortage had hit cotton crop in some division but situation is quite healthy in the divisions where tube-well water is used. Till date Punjab had achieved 62 per cent of the target of four million acres of land which was 30 per cent more than the previous year. He said that cotton can be sown till June 07, and we are quite hopeful to manage the target.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz held a telephonic contact with the Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Shah in which matters relating to shortage of water and water supply across Punjab especially to South Punjab came under discussion.

The CM demanded the provision of water to Punjab according to its allocated quota and emphasized that water be provided to Punjab with the same proportion in which it is provided to the other provinces. Hamza Shahbaz underscored that the whole country is facing shortage of water and we have to cope with this problem jointly.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has accused power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) of not giving new connections or enhancing connections of existing units due to which production has reduced by up to 25 per cent.

The Association has made this claim in a letter to the newly appointed Secretary Power, Rashid Mehmood Langrial. The Associations says that it works closely with the Ministry of Energy to ensure that its member mills have access to consistent and reliable energy. In this regard, APTMA has provided weekly updates to the Power Division regarding the issues in continuity of power supply to the industry and also those relating to non-conformity of laid-down standards.

The previously provided information from the previous six months noted that APTMA members units are continuously facing issues and that both interruptions and substandard supplies prevail resulting in the industry’s use of alternate fuels for production at a significant cost.

According to the letter, a closer look at the scenario indicates that the industry is frequently faced with wrongly timed maintenance shutdowns, emergency shutdowns, malfunctions, tripping, and bouts of supply dips and spikes.

“The unfortunate part is that despite direct engagement from the Power Division, APTMA has not been given confidence in the corrective measures implemented by any of the concerned DISCOs. “This circumstance brings us to the regrettable conclusion that, in all likelihood, the DISCOs were unable to do anything to ensure continuous and standard supply to the industry,” the Association continued.

APTMA further maintained that any interruption (even if it is shorter than one minute) or dip/ spike results in inflated disruption(s) in industrial activities, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes - all of which have a negative monetary worth of thousands of rupees for each mill.

The power companies are obliged to provide standard supply to the industry but no steps are taken to fix their problems, it said.

“At the same time, APTMA is not informed of any challenges that the DISCOs are experiencing, which could indicate that the situation is beyond the DISCOs’ capabilities or that the subject is not being given the attention that it deserves,” the Association maintained.

NEPRA previously allowed industrial consumers to increase their load capacity from 5 MW to 7.5 MW. It was interpreted by industry and later clarified by NEPRA (vide letter NEPRA/ DG(CAD)/ TCD-10/ 4012-24) that all such customers will be obliged to pay the proportionate cost of grid, including transmission line charges, as well as, the complete cost of land proportionate to the load. However, DISCOs misinterpreted NEPRA’s decision and charged industrial consumers in full. There are presently 108 load extension cases pending with DISCOs.

Despite NEPRA’S clarification, no demand notice has been revised. This prolonged delay caused by procedural issues is incomprehensible. Due to the lack of gas in the country many industrial units seek to switch to electricity; however, delays from DISCOS are reducing production capacity by 20 to 25 percent, resulting in significant loss to Pakistan’s exports/ economy.

APTMA requested Power Division to call a meeting with the DISCOs to map out a strategy for addressing its concerns including the delay in new and enhanced connections.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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