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Web Exclusive | December 2017

Pak cotton output to plummet

Pakistan’s cotton production is feared to plunge to 11 million bales during the current season against the revised target of 12.6 million bales as the country’s key crop producing province Punjab is likely to deliver an output setback, officials said. The officials said there is a further decline in cotton output compared with the already downward revised estimates as Punjab’s output failed to pick up despite hefty increase in the acreage.

The revised cotton production forecast was 12.6 million bales of 170kg each – a way below the original output target of 14.04 million bales for 2017/18. The harvest in Punjab, which contributes around 70 per cent to national production, is projected to be at almost the same level achieved last year despite nearly a 20 per cent increase in area under cultivation. Pakistan, which is the world’s fourth largest cotton producing country, falls short of around four million bales a year to meet the local demand of nearly 16 million bales. Industry officials said the much-touted off-season management by the Punjab Agriculture Department failed to yield positive results in terms of increasing the output of silver fibre.

A senior official of Punjab Agriculture Extension Wing said a downward trend in cotton arrival’s data suggested low productivity this year. The official added that Punjab’s cotton output would hover around the last year’s production. “Cotton output figures are still not final.” The Central Cotton Advisory Committee’s meeting, scheduled early 2018, is expected to present the final cotton estimate. The United States Department of Agriculture estimated Pakistan’s 2017/18 cotton production at 10.55 million bales of 170kg each and it would be up around 0.6 million bales from the last year. Harvested area is estimated at 2.8 million hectares this year, which is up 0.4 million hectares from last year. The yield is estimated at 638 kg per hectare, down nine per cent from the last year. Cotton ginning industry also expects around 11 million bales of cotton output this year.

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