(November 20, 2020)
Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said ignored agriculture sector is emerging as a threat to national security, food security and industrial sector.
The steps of the government and the central bank has started improving the economic situation but the agriculture sector can reverse all the gains, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that wheat is central to the food security while cotton is a lifeline for the industrial sector and both of the crops are going down.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that hundreds of textile mills providing millions of jobs and sixty percent of the foreign exchange are dependent on cotton but the cotton production and area under cultivation is shrinking since a decade.
On one hand, the textile industry buys low-quality cotton which is also most expansive while on the other hand growers are facing financial crunch which indicates the serious problems this sector is facing.
The cotton is available for 71.29 cents per pound in the international market while its price in Pakistan is 76.85 cents.
The production has come down from 880 kg per hectare to 577 kg in a decade while the average output of central Asia is 1100 to 1200 kg, Brazil is getting 1660 kg per hectare and China is producing 1826 kg of cotton from one hectare.
He said that the cotton production and quality is better in all the important cotton-growing countries as compared to Pakistan and if the local production continued to decline it will push the country into serious problems.
The cotton decline will leave the textile industry with no other option but to waster billion in foreign exchange to import cotton which will result in serious issues, he warned.