October 9, 2018: The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) would meet in the 3rd week of current month (October) in order to make second estimation of cotton output during the season, besides discussing the issues and challenges impeding output of major cash crop in the country.
The first meeting of the committee was held on September 12, which had revised the estimations of crop output downward from 14.5 million bales to 10.874 million bales for the season 2018-19, said Cotton Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research Dr. Khalid Abdullah.
Talking to APP on Tuesday, he said that due to low intensity of pest attacks on crop and suitable weather conditions across the cotton sowing areas, it was expected that the output figures would be improved in the second estimations.
He said that cotton sowing in the country had registered 11 percent decrease during current season, which was mainly attributed to shortage of irrigation water. Particularly in the Sindh province, cotton sowing was reduced by 31 percent and in Punjab by 5 percent.
However, he said that prices of the commodity in the local markets was strengthened and had witnessed increase as compared to previous year, adding that better rate of returns from the cotton growers was expected.
Dr. Abdullah further said that under the revised production of cotton output in Sindh was expected to produce about 2.6 million bales as against the production of 4.25 million bales in last season.
However, in Punjab cotton production was estimated up to 8.1 million, whereas the output was recorded at 7.38 million bales during the last season, he added.
Production estimates for Baluchistan were also revised upward to 0.01 million bales and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was expected to produce around 0.02 million bales, he remarked.
Cotton Commissioner further informed that cotton production in the country was under stress during the last four years mainly because of adverse effects of climate change and shortage of irrigation water.
He said that there was an urgent need to increase country’s water reservoir capacity and shift towards drip irrigation from the current flood irrigation which had been done away in many countries to conserve water.
Besides, he said that it was need of the time to rationalize the crop pattern in the country as they were consuming more water and other natural resources and creating the stress for other crops.
He said that every year country was harvesting bumper sugarcane crop, which was consuming lot of water, soil fertility and other inputs, adding that surplus sugar stocks were laying with the sugar mills and millions of rupee of the farmers were stuck with these mills.
He said that if these resources particularly water and land was converted into cotton production, country could earn billions of dollars by exporting the above mentioned commodity.
However, he said that policy for crop pattern was on cards in order to rationalize the output of all crops and utilize the natural resources more efficiently and judicially to tackle with the future challenges of food safety and security.