Federal Caretaker Minister for Industries and Commerce Dr Gohar Ejaz on Saturday said the government has projected a cotton crop output of 12 million bales this year, which includes 8 million bales from Punjab and 4 million bales from Sindh.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore on ‘World Cotton Day’, Ejaz said the government is expecting a cotton crop output of 8 million bales from Punjab this year, as compared to 3.3 million bales last year. “This means that we will save $3 billion in foreign exchange in purchase of raw cotton,” he said.
Ejaz, who is also the patron-in-chief of All Pakistan Textile Mills Limited (APTMA), shared the cotton production in Pakistan plunged from 14 million bales in 2013 to 5 million bales in 2023. “Meanwhile, cotton production in Punjab declined from 10 million bales to 3.3 million bales last year,” he said.
The caretaker minister, while lauding the measures taken by the Punjab government, said Pakistan is back among the top five cotton producers in the world.
Ejaz reiterated that he expects textile exports to hit $25 billion this year, as compared to $16 billion last year. “I will ensure that the issues of the textile sector including gas and electricity rates are resolved,” he said.
“We need to enhance our exports from textiles and other sectors. I want my nation to stand on its own feet,” said Ejaz,
As per data provided by APTMA, Pakistan’s textile exports in the first nine months of the calendar year 2023 decreased by 18% to $11.9 billion, down from $14.53 billion in the same period of 2022.
Pakistan’s textile exports are crucial as they make up for the bulk of the country’s exports. The year-on-year decline is concerning for the South Asian economy, which faces a shortage of foreign exchange, and relies on some non-debt-creating dollar inflow to shore up reserves.
He said that the Punjab government should take cotton of cotton research institutes in Sakrand and Multan.
“APTMA is willing to provide funds worth Rs100 million to these institutes for cotton research, however, the funding will be only for research purposes and not to pay salaries,” he added.