Cotton crop likely to miss target by 1.26m bales

Post Source: Dawn – Friday, 13 Nov, 2009

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ISLAMABAD: The cotton production target for 2009-10 is expected to be short by 1.26 million bales as the output would remain at around 12.1 million bales.

The Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), which met here on Thursday, observed that the decline in production was due to delay in the arrival of winter and the high heat damaging crops, while lack of water in certain areas resulted in virus attack on the crop.

However, the meeting was informed the cotton crop remained safe from the attack of the Curl Leave Virus.

Chairing the meeting Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal said that the final cotton production figures would be available after the third and final meeting of the PCCC in December.

According to the initial figures Punjab produced 8.5 million bales (target 10m), Sindh 3.50 million bales (target 3.25m), NWFP 0.01 million bales (target 0.10m) and Balochistan produced 0.09 million bales (target 0.10m).

Later talking to media the minister said that country’s domestic requirement for cotton was around 14 to 15 million bales and the remaining cotton would be imported by the concerned stakeholders.

The PCCC was also informed that cotton cultivation in the country has declined and the total area under the cotton crop was 3 million hectares, which was less than the target area of 3.150 million hectares for 2009-10.

Cotton was cultivated at 2.4 million hectares against the target of 6.18 million hectares in Punjab, while cultivation was at 0.6 million hectares in Sindh against the target of 1.61 million hectares.

The PCCC noted that cotton buyers needed to give compatible prices to the growers if they really wanted to improve the quality and quantity of cotton in the country.

‘We have witnessed tremendous increase in the production of wheat because of the good prices. We can increase our quality and quantity in cotton only if the farmers know that they will get a good price for their crop,’ the minister said.

The secretary Minfal, provincial representatives and the representatives from Pakistan Ginners Association (PCGA), All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) and Agriculture and Livestock Marketing and Grading department attended the meeting.

Regarding the BT cotton cultivation in the country, the meeting expressed concern that unapproved varieties were widely used in the country.

However, Additional Secretary Minfal Shahid Hussain Raja informed the meeting that eight new varieties were in a trial phase and these would be approved by February, 2010, which would help in improving cotton production.

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