KARACHI: Cotton production has fallen 6.77 per cent to 9.962 million bales during the current season up to Dec 15 due to water shortages and rise in input costs.
This year’s shortfall would mark the fourth consecutive year of production declines. The cotton production data for last fortnight (Dec 1-15) paint a gloomy picture for both of the leading cotton producing provinces.
Production in the country’s largest cotton producing province, Punjab, suffered a 9.64pc decline after production fell to 5.918m bales against the 6.55m produced during the same period last year.
On the other hand, cotton production in Sindh also fell short of the targets but performed relatively better than Punjab. As of December 15, Sindh’s production has reached 4.04m, down 2.22pc from 4.136m produced during the same period last year.
However, it is interesting to note that despite higher flow of phutti – seed cotton – during the last fortnight, overall cotton production remained short. Total flow of phutti during the season has reached 595,719 bales compared to 553,907 bales last year.
On the demand front, so far, textile spinners have purchased 8.055m bales as against 8.849m bales in the corresponding period last season. Similarly, exporters also booked less cotton at 99,589 bales compared to 0.214 million bales last season.
However, due to quality constraints, ginners are holding unsold cotton stocks of 1.807m bales higher than the 1.623m bales held by them in the corresponding period of last season.
Consequently, the cotton season is likely to culminate earlier than the last as crop shortage is likely to affect production. Around 365 ginning units are currently operating in Punjab compared to 597 units operating last year, whereas, around 148 units are operating in Sindh against 229 operating last year.
Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2018