Pakistan’s cotton production has shrunk 19% to 2.19 million bales till September 15, 2022 in the current season mainly due to the devastation caused by heavy rainfall and flash floods nationwide. Sindh, the worst-hit province, has, however, managed to make notable supplies in the past 15 days, negating earlier reports of complete destruction to the cotton crop in the province.
Data breakdown suggests that Sindh produced a total of 274,215 bales in the past 15 days (Sept 1-15), taking the total to 1.10 million bales so far in the current season. The production of 1.10 million bales, however, is 36% lower compared to 1.73 million bales produced in the same period last year, according to the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA).
Cotton production in Punjab increased 12% to 1.08 million bales in the current season compared to 0.96 million bales in the corresponding period of last year. Usually, Punjab produces 70% of the total crop, while the remaining 30% is produced by Sindh. This year, however, the floods have impacted the harvest. As a result, Punjab is expected to produce around 3.5 million bales while Sindh’s output may reach around 2 million bales, former PCGA chairman Dr Jassu Mal Leemani said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Before the floods, Punjab was expected to produce 5.5 million bales and Sindh 3.5 million bales in the current season. However, now Pakistan will produce around 5.5 million bales. “The country is expected to import a similar quantity (5.5-6 million bales) to overcome the shortfall,” he said. “Imports will not be very high compared to expectations (worth around $4 billion) due to the likely fall in exports amid high inflation in major export destinations (the US and Europe) for our textile products,” he said.
He dismissed the talk that Sindh had completely lost the cotton crop due to the recent floods. “The province has lost on an average 50% of the crop,” he said, adding that the receding floodwater had encouraged farmers to pick phutti (cotton flower) from the fields. “This is evident from the fact that around 230 ginning factories are currently running in the province. Reports suggest that 217 factories were operating at this time last year.”
He said the heavy rainfall and floods had also impacted the cotton output in Punjab. Its production may drop in the coming months. “Increase in production in the past 15 days (Sept 1-15) came due to the harvest of early crop in the province.”