Latest figures issued by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association say higher cotton production in the Sindh and Punjab provinces helped Pakistan improve its overall cotton output by 7.16 per cent year-on-year up to Dec 31. However, production level remained lower than the official revised estimate of 12.6 million bales. The country produced 11.11m bales against 10.36m bales in the corresponding period of the last season. The government initially estimated that cotton production would be 14.1m bales because of the higher acreage of land under cultivation, but the cotton crop faced many issues.
Heavy rains affected the crop, next a heat wave stunted growth of cotton plants. Pest attacks in many cotton-growing areas of Sindh and Punjab further took its toll. Sindh continued to record a higher production growth than Punjab. During the period under review, Sindh showed a growth of 12.38 per cent to 4.21m bales while Punjab recorded a growth of 4.2 per cent to 6.89m bales.
Cotton prices soared to the seven-year high of Rs 8, 100 per maund as against Rs 14, 000 per maund in 2010-11 amid a worldwide surge in commodity prices.
Spinners tried to import cotton in large quantities earlier in the season, however, they shifted track to local cotton as world prices surged. As a result, spinners purchased 9.56m bales as against 8.82 million bales last season. Exporters also purchased 0.21m bales as against 0.12m bales that they bought in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Ginners are holding unsold stocks of 1.33m bales compared to 1.35m bales a year ago. Of 609 ginning units still operating in the country, 446 are in Punjab and 163 are in Sindh. Cotton production in Pakistan is integral to the economic development of the country. The nation is largely dependent on the cotton industry and its related textile sector, and the crop has been given a principal status in the country.