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KARACHI: Recent rains have affected the cotton business; however, rate of the commodity remained stable. There were fluctuations seen in international cotton market.

Noted agriculture scientist Dr Tasawur Hussain Malik has said that solution to Pakistan’s economic crises is related to good quality cotton.

In the local cotton market during the last week due to continuous rains in almost all the cotton-producing areas of Sindh and Punjab and Balochistan, most of the cotton factories remained closed, and even ginning could not be done properly, due to which there was little business. Markets were also closed due to the Muharram holidays.

According to the reports received from the cotton producing areas, the rains have caused minor damage to the crop, but the quality has already been affected. There is a possibility of damage to the crop in case of further rains. The damage can; however, be estimated after the rains stop.

However, due to the relatively high crop, it will not make much difference. It is feared after the rains, the crop can be affected by the attack of insects and pests.

Cotton prices are expected to remain stable due to stronger dollar and increase in New York cotton prices. Experts say that textile mills should buy cautiously as the textile sector has not improved much.

The rate of cotton in Sindh was in between Rs 17,800 to Rs 17,900 per maund while the rate of Phutti was in between Rs 7,200 to Rs 7,700 per 40 kg.

The rate of cotton in Punjab was in between Rs 18,000 to Rs 18,300 per maund while the rate of Phutti was in between Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,500 per 40 kg.

The rate of cotton in Balochistan was in between Rs 17,800 to Rs 17,900 per maund while the rate of Phutti was in between Rs 7,200 to Rs 7,800 per 40 kg.

The Spot Rate Committee of the Karachi Cotton Association closed the rate at Rs 17,935 per maund.

Chairman Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Naseem Usman has said that bullish trend prevails in international cotton market. The rate of Future Trading of New York Cotton after reaching at the highest level in six months closed at 88 American cents. The reason for the increase in New York cotton prices is linked to the decline in the value of the dollar and the severe heat and drought in cotton-producing states and regions.

Later, the price closed at 84.26 US cents due to the relatively low supply of cotton as per the export report. There is also an upward trend in cotton prices in India. According to USDA’s weekly export and sales report, for 2022-23 18,700 bales were sold. China was at the top by buying 2,700 bales. Vietnam was second with 2,600 bales.

For the year, 2023-24 around 80,600 bales were sold. China was at the top by buying 63,300 bales. Mexico was second with 11,500 bales. Bangladesh bought 3,000 bales and came third. Pakistan bought 2,600 bales and stood at the fourth position.

Eminent agriculture scientist of the country Dr Tasawur Hussain Malik said on Thursday that production of best quality cotton was an important demand of the textile industry to produce top quality textile products and fetch sizable foreign exchange in return through exports. In this way, country’s economic hardships could be mitigated to a great extent.

Director of Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute (PCSI) expressed these views while addressing a gathering of cotton selectors during their training organised by PCSI here.

He said, PCSI was the only institution in the country engaged in grading cotton as per its quality and provides technical assistance to farmers and private sector on cotton classing, grading, selection and fibre testing to improve quality of seed cotton as well as lint.

Over 30 cotton selectors from agriculture extension departments of Punjab and Sindh, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), and Pakistan Cotton Brokers Association (PCBA) joined the training on July 26 which would continue till Aug 8.

Dr Tasawur Hussain Malik said that Federal ministry of National food Security and Research was making result-oriented efforts to activate PCSI on modern lines and would provide resources for laboratories upgradation, and modern machinery.

He further stated that cotton standardisation process would soon begin in Sindh and Punjab under a pilot project. He said that a programme would also be launched for farmers to produce contamination-free cotton that will help produce better grade lint and enable textile industry produce top quality fabric.

Regional Incharge PCSI Syed Kaleemuddin, head of technology transfer wing of CCRI Multan Sajid Mahmood, and other experts speaking on the occasion said that main objective of these courses is not only to impart technical training on grading, classing, cotton selection and fibre testing to the private sector for cotton grading and quality improvement, but also to facilitate collaboration between growers, weavers, textile sector, research institutes and other stakeholders.

Recent monsoon rains in the country’s cotton belt have however, damaged the crop. Ihsanul Haq, chairman of Cotton Ginners Forum, has said that there is a fear that this time the country will not be able to achieve the cotton production target, which was set at more than 10 million bales. He said that this situation will also harm the exports of the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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