Pakistan’s Cotton Production Almost Doubles Due to Timely Rains

Pakistan’s cotton output has soared up to 6.2 million bales in the current season (June-Nov), a surge of 81 percent compared to the same period last year, owing to timely rains and better incentives to the farmers.

According to Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Association (PCGA), the cotton yield was only 3.45 million bales last year in the June-November period.

Rain timings played a huge role in the cotton output. Timely rain in September boosted the cotton harvest this year, said former PCGA Chairman, Jassu Mal Leemani.

“We expect a cumulative production of 7-7.2 million bales in current season 2021-22 and around 10 million bales in 2022-23,” said the former chairman.

Cotton output was dismal last year, a multi-decade low of 5.64 million bales due to untimely rainfall in August, resulting in the loss of 2 million bales in Sindh alone, explained Leemani.

Leemani highlighted that cotton output also increased due to better price incentives to the farmer as the price of cotton flower (phutti) per 40 kg was doubled to Rs. 6,000 in the ongoing year against Rs. 3,000 per kg in the previous year. Similarly, cotton price is currently around a peak of Rs. 17,000 per 40 kg compared to Rs. 11,000 per 40 kg last year.

Famers would prefer other crops — rice, maize, and sugarcane — over cotton as they would get higher returns from other crops. Leemani emphasized that the government should support the textile industry with a better cotton policy as the textile sector is contributing to 60 percent of the total exports annually.

In the ongoing year, the exceptional cotton output will ease the pressure on the foreign reserves of Pakistan, as the textile industry will meet most of its cotton needs locally and will import less cotton from global markets.

In the international market, cotton prices have also doubled to $1.2 per pound against $0.6 per pound a year ago, added the former chairman.

Low cotton harvest forces the textile industry to import cotton to meet their manufacturing needs. Due to low cotton output FY2020, the textile industry imported $1.48 billion worth of cotton yarn (857,373 tons) for yarn manufacturing, noted the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).