Cotton arrivals have hit a three-decade low level of 5.6 million bales. This is a decrease of 34 percent year-on-year until 31 January as compared to 8.48 million bales recorded during the same period last year, according to a report released by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA).
The steep fall is said to be primarily due to farmers switching to other crops, while the contributing factors include substandard seed and substandard pesticides that led them to move to other crops.
Additionally, the export of cotton has increased and the total cotton output has decreased to the lowest level in 30 years. Of these 5.6 million bales, 70,200 bales were exported. This is an increase of 19.6 percent year-over-year as compared to 58,666 bales exported last year.
In the domestic market, so far five million bales have been sold to mills, which are down from last year’s 7.63 million bales.
The Senior Vice President of the Sindh Abadgar Board, Mehmood Nawaz Shah, spoke to the media, saying, “Climate change is also an issue. This production suffered because of rain in August and September. Punjab’s crop suffered because of extensive heat”.
He said that the government has allowed seeds with 50 percent germination, adding that if no action is taken over the quality of the seeds, the production of cotton will decline even more in the next season.
The decline in production has also squeezed the number of ginning factories in Sindh and Punjab. While 119 factories in Punjab had been operational during last year, the number had decreased to 87 factories by January 31 this year. Likewise, the number of ginning factories in Sindh has declined from 15 to three during the time period in concern.