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KARACHI: There were fluctuations in the rate of cotton; however, overall an improvement in business volume was witnessed.

According to All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, the curtailment of gas supply to the industry will result in closure of industry and increase in unemployment across the country.

Federal Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema in his speech in the National Assembly has stressed for effective measures to increase the cotton crop.

It is suggested that a cotton emergency should be imposed and cotton cultivation area should be increased. The government should also ensure the supply of quality cotton seeds to farmers.

The local cotton market started to show some improvement during the last week with a trend of increasing cotton business volume.

Although the price did not showed much acceleration, but previously there was almost a stagnant atmosphere in the business, which has now improved. Some spinning mills have started buying on low rates. The reason behind was increasing trend in the rate of cotton in international markets especially the rate of the Future Trading of cotton is stable.

The reason behind the increase in the rate of New York cotton is the decrease in the price of the dollar there, while China has come out as a big player in last two to three weeks. A bearish trend had been seen in the rate of Future Trading of New York Cotton for the last two to three days.

In India too, there is a huge crisis in the textile sector. Surprisingly, in the last two to three weeks, cotton prices saw a significant increase of Rs 7,000 per candi (356 kg). Thus the price increased from the low level of Rs 63,000 and reached at the highest level of Rs 70,000 before falling to a low of Rs 69,000.

There is some increase in the cotton business volume in Pakistan after the decrease due to which some hope has been seen among the ginners who have stocks of cotton. There is a severe financial crunch in textile sector worldwide due to recession.

Like other industries in the country, there is great uncertainty and crisis in textile sector also.

In such a difficult situation, instead of giving incentives to these sectors, the government has increased the crisis and difficulties by shutting off gas for three months due to which the industries have started closing down, and unemployment and underemployment have increased further.

The rate of cotton in Sindh is in between Rs 14,500 to Rs 18,000 per maund. The rate of Phutti per 40 kg is Rs 5,500 to Rs 8,000. The rate of cotton in Punjab is in between Rs 16,000 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 16,500 to Rs 18,500 per maund.

The Spot Rate Committee of the Karachi Cotton Association increased the spot rate by Rs 200 per maund and closed it at Rs 17, 200 per maund.

Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Chairman Naseem Usman said that there was fluctuation in international cotton market especially there was a decrease in the rate of Future Trading of New York cotton after being stable.

According to the weekly export and sales report of USDA 25,100 bales were sold for the 2022-23. Taiwan was on number one with 5,800 bales, China was on number second with 5,700 bales while Turkey was on number three with 4,800 bales. For the year 2023-24, some 8,100 bales were sold.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah to save the textile industry after Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) halted supply to industries, a private TV channel reported.

In a statement, APTMA Chairman Asif Inam urged PM Shehbaz Sharif and chief ministers of Sindh and Balochistan to save the textile industry after gas supply was halted to industries for more than three months.

“The federal and provincial governments should take measures to save industries from complete shutdown,” the Chairman APTMA said, urging the chief executives to stop Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) from halting gas supply to industries.

Asif Inam further said that the step would further decline exports and value of the US dollar would surge more. “Halting of gas supply will shut down industries and increase unemployment across the country,” he warned.

“Sindh and Balochistan were producing more than 80 percent of the gas,” he said, adding that the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) cannot take decision without taking the stakeholders in confidence.

The chairman added that the industries had already been facing issues due to low pressure and were failing to fulfil their export orders.

Earlier in the day, the Petroleum Division clarified that Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) would suspend gas supply to industries, generating power from the gas.

The Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy in its clarification said that the gas distribution not being suspended to the industries as whole. “The industrial and trade organizations have misinterpreted the letters to industrial consumers,” the petroleum division stated.

The SSGC had written letters to the industrial consumers producing electricity from gas, according to the statement. “Gas supply is only being suspended for power generation,” it clarified.

The gas supply is being suspended to power producing industrial consumers for three-and-half months, petroleum ministry stated. “The supply to the captive plants will remain suspended from November 15 to February 28, 2023” the ministry stated.

Apart from this, Naseem Usman’s panel won unopposed the 2022-23 annual elections of six-member Brokers Advisory Committee of Karachi Cotton Association.

Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Chairman Naseem Usman on behalf of his panel thanked all 320 licensed cotton brokers of KCA for trusting him.

He also assured that KCBF will continue its efforts to enable and promote the cotton trade and will always look after the interests of the cotton broker community.

Naseem Usman said that the failure of cotton crop has now become a failure in Pakistan. The country failed to develop any indigenous varieties of insect-resistant cotton seeds. There is no officially approved indigenous or imported Bt cotton variety available. Imported or smuggled substandard varieties ruin large cotton fields.

It is unfortunate that cotton production per hectare in Pakistan has declined from a peak average of 730 kg to less than 600 kg.

Being the world’s most profitable crop government should take steps to improve the crop.

Naseem Usman believes that the main reason for the decrease in cotton production in Pakistan is the establishment of sugar mills in the districts earmarked for cotton cultivation and the increase in sugarcane cultivation there.

Along with this, the quality of cotton has also declined due to the sale of substandard seeds and the adulteration of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. In this regard, the country may face further decline in yield and quality of cotton per acre due to climate change and cotton pests (red cotton bug and dusky cotton bug).

Without solving these problems, it is not possible to increase cotton production in Pakistan. Apart from this, there is an urgent need to focus on research and development to increase cotton production.

In this regard, cotton research institutes and agricultural universities should focus on starting research projects in collaboration with China or the United States to develop hybrid cotton seeds that have the ability to fight climate change and have good yields.

If such seeds are supplied to the farmers at subsidized rates after testing, it is possible to increase the yield and quality of cotton, which will benefit both the farmer and the industry.

In this regard, an organization can also be formed at the national level in which research and development work can be done to increase the production and quality of cotton by setting targets through the representation of industrialists, farmers and the government.

According to Naseem Usman a cotton emergency should be imposed. He said that along with increasing the area of cotton cultivation, supply of good quality seeds should also be ensured.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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