As the world’s fourth largest cotton producing country, Pakistan’s cotton production plays a vital role in the country’s GDP and export earnings, but production and cotton cultivation in Pakistan has always faced various challenges, causing ups and downs in cotton production. However, recent figures show that the country’s cotton production has experienced new achievement, as cotton output registered a slight growth.
According to the latest figures from the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), cotton production in Pakistan reached 10.727 million bales by Apr 15, 2017, representing an increase of 9.81% from a year ago.
Within the total amount of cotton output, Punjab produced around 937,665 more bales or 15.62% higher this year. In total, Punjab produced 6.94 million bales against 6.022 million bales produced in the same period last year. Sindh also recorded nominal growth of 0.56% in cotton production at 3.787 million bales against 3.766 million bales recorded in the same period last season.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) estimates, Pakistan is expected to see a 10% increase in its cotton production for 2017/18, forecast at 8.5 million bales, largely due to an expected increase in cotton crop area. But the cotton crop area remains low compared with historical levels, as farmers continue to shift to sugarcane and corn in the planting area.
USDA also points out that Pakistan is likely to continue as a significant importer of cotton to augment domestic production, though imports are expected to decline somewhat in response to improved production. Annual cotton consumption has been largely unchanged for over a decade and the trend is expected to continue into 2017/18. Pakistan has announced a funding package aimed at expanding the textile sector that includes a reduction in the cotton import tariff to zero.
Currently, Pakistan is still a net importer of cotton, primarily due to strong demand for better grades of cotton for blending and for producing export-oriented quality textile products. The country’s imports during marketing year 2017/18 are likely to fall as domestic production improves. Imports are projected at 2.3 million bales. Despite sizable imports, Pakistan continues to export cotton and 2017/18 exports are forecast at 365,000 bales.
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