Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) would meet by the second week of the current month (August) in order to take stock of the output of the major cash crop of the county during the current season.
Restructuring of the committee has been completed after the devolution of CCAC from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, said Cotton Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Dr. Khalid Abdullah.
Talking to local media on Wednesday, he said that the formulation of the new committee had been finalized and all the relevant stakeholders were taken on board in order to sensitize the issues and challenges being faced by the cotton growers across the crop sowing areas of the country.
He said that the representation of all four provinces, the federal government and the allied departments working under the respective governments have been aligned for streamlining the matters related to enhancing the output of the crop, by facilitating the farmers and the field extension departments.
While giving the overview of the crop during the current season, the Commissioner said that the cotton crop was in good shape and stability in prices in the domestic markets had enhanced the interest in the crop, encouraging the farmers to put more land under cotton cultivation.
He also informed that the federal government has imposed import duty on cotton, which would also help in price stabilization in the local markets.
“Cotton has been cultivated over 2.69 million hectares of land to produce about 14 million cotton bales fixed during the current sowing season in order to fulfill the domestic requirements as well as those for exporting,” adding that “crop sowing had registered an increase of about 1 percent across the crop producing areas of the country as compared the cultivation of corresponding period of last season.”
The cotton sowing targets had been fixed at 2.95 million hectares in order to produce over 14 million cotton bales during the crop season 2018-19.
He informed that the crop cultivation targets that were fixed for the current sowing season, were achieved by over 91 percent as it went up by 1.0 percent as compared with the area under cultivation with respect to the cotton crop during same period of last year.
He said that overall cotton sowing in the Province of Punjab registered a growth of about 11 percent as farmers in the province had cultivated the crop over 2.29 million hectares of land as against the set targets of 2.31 million hectares for the period under review.
He however informed that crop sowing in the Sindh Province decreased by 40 percent and attributed the low sowing trend with dry weather during the crop sowing time as well as a shortage of water for crop irrigation. Sindh, he said, could achieve the sowing targets by 66 percent and cultivate the crop over 0.41 million hectares as against the targets of 0.62 million hectares fixed for current sowing season.
Meanwhile, he said that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces were assigned a task to cultivate the crop over 0.1 million hectares.
Dr. Abdullah said that due to recent rains the water availability for crop irrigation would be strengthened, which would help in further boosting the area under cotton growing as well as enhance the output.
Meanwhile, the exports of raw cotton from the country during the twelve months of the last financial year that ended on June 30, 2018, had registered over 33.65 percent growth as over the exports of the corresponding period of last year. About 35,347 metric tons of raw cotton worth $58.227 million was exported, compared to the 25,462 metric tons valued at $43.567 million during the same period of the previous financial year.
During the period under review, about 521,959 metric tons of cotton yarn worth $1.371 billion was also exported as compared to the 458,074 metric tons valued at $1.243 billion of the same period last year, according to data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
During the period from July-June, 2017-18, the exports of the cotton yarn grew by 10.30 percent over the previous year, where as the exports of yarn, other than cotton yarn, grew by 38.85 percent, it added. About 11,690 metric tons of yarn other than cotton yarn worth US$ 33.411 million was exported as against the 2,519 metric tons valued at $24.063 million during the same period of last year.