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KARACHI: Prices of cotton overall remained stable in local and international markets. Assistant Director Agriculture Information Abdul Samad has suggested increasing cotton production. APTMA has asked for functioning of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee.

In the domestic cotton market, cotton prices were overall stable during the last week. Business volume remained relatively low due to less interest in cotton procurement by textile mills. As the cotton crop has been affected due to heavy rains and floods in the country, the crop production will be 41% less than the production of the same period last year.

According to the experts, this year cotton production will be fifty five lac bales.

A significant increase was witnessed in the rate of cotton in international markets but due to severe recession in national and international textile sector there is a significant decrease in demand and supply of cotton.

The ginners have stocks of cotton while the mills also have huge stocks of cotton and cotton yarn due to which there is a severe financial crisis. Due to sluggish business, huge payments of traders and farmers are blocked.

According to information received from the textile hub, Faisalabad, the crisis in the textile sector has further increased. About 65% of textile spinning mills, sizing, weaving, power looms, etc., have already been closed due to which unemployment is increasing.

The rate of cotton in Sindh is in between Rs 14,000 to Rs 17,500 per maund. The rate of Phutti is in between Rs 5,500 to Rs 8,500 per 40 kg. The rate of cotton in Punjab is in between Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 per maund while the rate of Phutti is in between Rs 6,500 to Rs 9,000 per 40 kg. The rate of cotton in Balochistan is in between Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 per maund and the rate of Phutti is in between Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,500 per 40 kg.

The Spot Rate Committee of the Karachi Cotton Association increased the spot rate by Rs 300 per maund and closed it at Rs 17,000 per maund.

Chairman Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Naseem Usman has said that there was fluctuation in the rate of cotton in both local and international cotton markets. The rate of future trading of New York Cotton after increasing closed at eighty eight American cents per pound.

According to the USDA Weekly Export and Sales Report for the year 2022-23, more than one lac forty five thousand bales were sold.

China was at the top after buying fifty seven thousand three hundred bales.

Pakistan bought 40500 bales and stood second.

Vietnam ranked third with 23400 bales, including 2,200 bales from Taiwan.

Eleven 11400 bales were sold for the year 2023-24. Turkey was at the top after buying 6,600 bales. Pakistan came second by buying 4,800 bales.

Farmers should follow off-season management to protect next crop of cotton from pests and enhance per acre production, said Assistant Director Agriculture Information Abdus Samad.

In a statement, assistant director observed that cotton was one of major crops in the country and about 70% of its total production was produced in Punjab.

“Different factors and stages play important role in achieving good and better cotton production. In view of the attack of pink bollworm on the cotton crop, effective strategies can be adopted during the winter to protect the next cotton crop from the damage done by the pest,” he said.

Samad further says pink bollworm goes into hibernation in December, and spends the winter sleeping in seeds, leftovers on sticks, and in the rubbish of ginning factories.

“Winter hibernation depends largely on temperature. When the right temperature is reached, it causes loss to the next crop. Farmers can adopt strategies during the winter to protect the upcoming cotton crop from the damage,” he suggested.

He asked the farmers to seek guidance from experts of the agriculture department. He also asked them to graze the sheep and goats in the fields after the last picking so that the raw cotton boll could become food for the animals and the larvae of pink bollworm could be eradicated.

“Cotton sticks should be cut and used by January 31 and when piled up, keep them in small bundles so that the stems are at the bottom and it will help destroying locusts and larvae in the sticks through sun light, he urged the farmers.

Meanwhile, All Pakistan Mills Textile Association (APTMA) raised objections on reconstitution of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) and asked the federal government for the vice president slot along with sizeable representation in the committee.

Being the biggest stakeholder in using cotton for its finished products, APTMA seeks enhanced representation in the reconstituted committee to play a positive role in the betterment of quality cotton production in the country that has dwindled to just 6 million bales.

In the PCCC, out of 20 members, only one member has been taken from APTMA. The association, as one of the main stakeholders of cotton, has always supported and requested for restructuring the PCCC. The reason for the demand was the PCCC’s utter failure to deliver on cotton research and development. The reconstitution of the PCCC was again without adequate and effective representation of the private sector and the main stakeholders, such as APTMA.

APTMA communicated these points in its latest correspondence to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. It said that it was capable of resurrecting PCCC through effective control because of its personnel, which it uses to protect cotton R&D and technology transfer to cotton farmers. APTMA has already begun its initiatives and has qualified experts.

“The committee reconstitution should be protected by the law, and this protection should not be subject to frequent change. The country cannot afford any further losses in cotton production, which are mostly the result of PCCC mismanagement due to the inappropriate membership of its committees,” APTMA said in its correspondence.

Cotton production in Pakistan has decreased by 50 percent in the last ten years, from 14 million bales to 6 million bales, resulting in significant losses in Pakistan’s textile sector and economy. Pakistan is losing $2.0 billion directly and at least $10 billion of GDP each year on account of low production of cotton.

This loss of revenue hurts the poorest of the poor, i.e., women in the backward farming community. This low production and decline in cotton areas was due to a lack of research and development by public sector institutions, mainly PCCC, it noted, adding that the PCCC was now simply a pale replica of what once played an important role in cotton development in Pakistan.

APTMA said that over the past 20 years, things progressively worsened, as none of the cotton varieties developed by the PCCC have been grown commercially.

“We believe that proper restructuring of PCCC with effective representation from the key stakeholders is the key to getting PCCC to fulfil its primary objective of producing reliable and pest-resistant seed varieties for farmers,” the association said.

The PCCC is an organisation established under the Cotton Cess Act 1923 with the mandate to develop cotton crops in Pakistan through research and development. It levies cotton cess on the consumption and export of cotton bales, which is at present, Rs50/bale (170kg). PCCC completely runs on cess collected from the textile sector on the consumption of local, as well as, imported cotton

Chairman Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Chaudhry Waheed Arshad nominated Talat Sohail as the convener of Revival of Cotton Committee.

Malik Talat Sohail, as the convener of the cotton and Textile committee of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), has been trying practically for the revival of cotton in Pakistan for two years and highlights the importance of cotton and its positive effects in the Pakistan economy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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