Cotton arrivals drop; shortfall may hit 4 million bales

Munawar Hasan
Sunday, Sep 04, 2022

LAHORE: Cotton arrivals at ginning stage dropped by 14 percent till September 1, 2022 as floods laid waste to billions of rupees’ worth of produce in Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan, while the country is estimated to fall short of this year’s target by four million bales, prompting need for imports to keep the textile sector spinning, data showed on Saturday.

According to industry numbers, around 1.539 million bales reached at ginning factories in the country. In the same period last year, it was around 1.791 million bales. During the current season textile mills bought nearly 1.324 million bales of cotton to date.

Cotton arrivals from Punjab, the biggest producer of silver fiber, jumped 29 percent to 0.704 million bales while Cotton arrivals from Sindh declined 33 percent to 0.835 million bales.

The flooding of cotton planning areas in key producing zones is said to be the sole reason that hit the output of the crop. The production of cotton in the country may be around four million bales less this year against the target. At this time, the farming sector has seen the severest destruction in Sindh and Balochstan. As many as 80 percent of Sindh's cotton has been destroyed, which is more or less 25 percent of the country's total cotton production.

According to an estimate shared by Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, former adviser of the previous federal government on agriculture, the production of cotton in the country is going to decrease considerably this year as Rs425 billion or $2 billion worth of about four million bales of cotton have been destroyed by floods.

Punjab, as per estimates lost Rs110 billion worth of 0.9 million bales, Sindh Rs275 billion worth of about 2.9 million bales, while Balochsitan saw cotton produce valuing Rs40 billion going down the drain.

Almost the entire cotton crop in Balochistan has been wiped out, while the cotton belts of Sanghar and Sukkur Division are the worst hit, while in Punjab the most affected areas include Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, and Rahim Yar Khan.

Some cotton areas in Rojhan, Fazilpur, and Jampur also bore the brunt of floods in South Punjab. Some losses were avoided in South Punjab due to better drainage of floodwater, while in Sindh loss of cotton was as high as 90 percent in some districts.

The reason for this loss in Sindh province is that settlements on banks of water channels and drains have clogged the waterways, resulting in losses of billions of rupees to the standing crop.

Attack of whitefly which causes a 60 percent reduction in cotton production is currently rampant in the Punjab province.

Meanwhile, Secretary Agriculture, South Punjab, Saqib Ali Attil expressed optimism on better production of cotton in the Punjab province this year.

“Around 703,000 bales of cotton have been sold to ginning factories of Punjab province till September 1, which is 29 percent more than last year’s 5,40,000 bales,” he said.

He said that 145.64 percent more bales of cotton were produced in Multan district, while there had been a decline in cotton production in Rajanpur, where 75.76 percent fewer bales of cotton were picked till September 1.