Cotton output to remain dismal due to lack of initiatives. Avoiding issues confronting growers to damage the sector. Cotton imports a burden on textile sector.

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(October 16, 2019)

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said fixing the target for cotton production is not enough which should be backed by supportive steps. Cotton growers should be supported to discourage them from switching to other crops and maintain area under cultivation which is shrinking otherwise it will be damaging for the textile sector, he said.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that Pakistan must import five million bales to keep market stable which will increase the import bill and cost of doing business for the textile sector while it can hit the exports. He said that cotton accounts for 4.5 percent of the agricultural GDP, one percent of national GDP and it covers seventy percent cost in textile production.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that reduction in area under cultivation, pest attacks, substandard seed, and pesticides, water scarcity, low profit and high cost of inputs will reduce cotton output by 33 percent which will reduce GDP by two percent.

­­­The former minister noted that pink boll worm and white fly wastes almost four million bales due to the substandard seed which should be tackled.

He noted that the textile industry is earning thirteen billion dollars of foreign exchange and providing employment to ten million people therefore it should be given preference by policymakers. Pakistan is at the bottom of ten major cotton-producing countries while the area under cultivation has been reduced by 29 percent since 2012. India will produce 30 million bales while Pakistan will produce hardly ten million bales during the current year.

Pakistan and India have identical weather but the later is using latest machinery which has boosted the production, he said, adding that growers are selling cotton for Rs 90 per kg while textile mills are getting it for Rs 230 per kg which is damaging both. The difference is pocketed by the middlemen which is not profit but exploitation which should be discouraged. He also called for reforms to make Pakistan Central Cotton Committee an effective institution to improve situation.

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