Pakistan’s Celebrations of “World Cotton Day 2022”
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, Ginners, Textile Industry, Pesticide, Seed & Fertilizer Industry and 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, cotton stakeholders and trading bodies will bring back the momentum of cotton production to the level where it was few years before and will bring prosperity for the nation at large.
Cotton in Pakistan
Cotton crop considered the lifeline for Pakistan’s economy. It is the highest foreign exchange earner, engaging numerous stakeholders, source of earnings for millions including the women pickers, and always remained center of planning and development activities at national and provincial level. Pakistan currently placed at 5th position in global cotton production after India, China, USA and Brazil. Cotton production entails more than 60% of foreign exchange earnings (US$ 12-15 billion annually).
Cotton production greatly affected by heavy rains leading to floods since the year 2010-11 which pose substantial loss to not only cotton but other crops, livestock, humans as well as the houses and infrastructure. Later on, high temperatures, water shortage and drought conditions affected the cotton crop very badly. Moreover, climate change indirectly affected the cotton crop by paving conducive environmental conditions for resurgence of cotton insects pests i.e., Pink bollworm, Armyworm, Mealybug, and Whitefly. Pink bollworm re-emerged and damaged the cotton crop by almost 30% in the Punjab province during 2015-16 posing an economic loss of more than Rs. 125 billion. The continuous threat of cotton leaf curl virus (CLCuV) also affected the cotton production on yearly basis.
Cotton crop 2022-23 has drastically been damaged due to the climatic changes. Cotton season started with the 7-10⁰C rise in temperatures in March till May. The shortage of irrigation water and severe heatwave affected the cotton germination, seedlings growth along with leaf wilting problem. Later, the country received heaviest rainfall from July till August (Pakistan: 390.7mm, Punjab: 424mm, Sindh: 697.1mm). Sindh and Balochistan provinces were worst hit due to heavy rains leading to flash floods. The highest rainfall received was 1733 mm in Noshera Feroze, 837 mm in Khairpur and 827 mm in Sehwan areas of the Sindh province. Almost the entire crops in Sindh and Balochistan provinces swept away in floods. While, in Punjab province the districts of Rajan Pur, DG Khan and Tounsa was worst hit damaging 212,000 acres of cotton crop. This has reduced the overall cotton production to 6.0 million bales during the crop season 2022-23.
The Ministry of National Food Security & Research proposed various measures to the Government of Pakistan for revival of cotton crop in the country to meet the demand of local textile industry. The measures included announcement of support price, provision of subsidy on essential inputs (seed, fertilizer, pesticide, farm machinery), facilitation in credit provision, and substantial relief to the farmers affected by floods. All the stakeholders including federal and provincial government departments, academia, textile & ginning industry, pesticide/seed/fertilizer industry, and cotton farmers have accelerated efforts in enhancing cotton production in the country. Hopefully, all these coordinated measures will help in reviving Pakistan’s cotton production back to the track.