Pakistan is celebrating the World Cotton Day with great enthusiasm and reassurance for the betterment of cotton crop in the country. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) and Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) in coordination with all the cotton stakeholders celebrated in a befitting manner. The following major activities carried out for this Day:
• Cotton Walk for commemorating importance of cotton crop in national economy
• Exhibition of Farm Machinery and Stalls of Companies for displaying products and their activities
• Seminars and workshops highlighting challenges confronting cotton production and measures for its revival
• Perspectives of Cotton Stakeholders (Farmers, Ginning, Textile, Pesticide, Seed, Fertilizer, & NGOs)
• Cultural Program and participation of School Children
The event highlighted issues confronting the cotton production and trade, and recommended measures for boosting cotton production in the country. The collaborative and joint efforts by the government functionaries, stakeholders and cotton trading bodies will bring back the momentum of cotton production back to the level where it was few years before and will bring prosperity for the nation at large.
Cotton in Pakistan
Cotton crop is the lifeline for Pakistan’s economy, as it remained the highest foreign exchange earning commodity, involves numerous stakeholders in cotton production and trade, a source of earnings for more than 1.5 million farming families including 0.5 million women cotton pickers.
The decade (2010-2020) remained distressful for cotton production in Pakistan as the crop faced challenges of adverse climate (heavy and prolonged rains, rising temperatures, drought), Mealybug attack, resurgence of Pink bollworm and Whitefly in epidemic form, Cotton Leaf Curl Virus Syndrome, Locust attack, price volatility, and seed quality issues. All contributing in declining the production from 14.6 million bales in 2014-15 to 7.7 million bales in 2020, and thus slipping down the overall ranking of Pakistan from 4th to 5th place among cotton producing countries at global level.
The appearance of COVID-19 pandemic during the year 2020 shattered the entire world economies and Pakistan being no exception. Resultantly major textile buyers from Europe, USA and Japan suspended purchases from Pakistan. At the same time, textile manufacturing process and products supply was disturbed due to drastic decline in domestic cotton production as well as decline in import of essential machinery and other materials. Government took strenuous steps in alleviating impact of pandemic on cotton production and trade.
The year 2021 brings hope for revival of cotton crop back to the momentum that was lost. For the last several years, compared to the low trend of cotton crop, this year’s production has come to a great growth. Keeping in view all the factors, the estimation of cotton production this year is 8.46 million bales, which is about 50% more than that of the previous year (5.645 million bales in 2020). Better production during the current year is attributed to favorable weather conditions (moderate temperatures and quite lesser rains), maximum availability of certified seeds, lower losses due to insect pests, effective extension campaigns, and provision of robust relief measures by the government including announcement of support price and subsidies on essential inputs like seed, fertilizer and pesticides.