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Sindh Achieves Cotton Production Target 10 Years Ahead of Schedule

Cotton production in Sindh has achieved its annual target in a surprising manner, almost a decade before the scheduled end of the crop season.

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Karachi: In contrast, Punjab has only reached 44% of its initial target by November 30, 2023, raising concerns that the province may only achieve around 55% of the set target by the end of the current year.

Ehsan ul Haq, Chairman of the Cotton Growers Forum, revealed that according to data released by the Cotton Ginners Association, the total national cotton production in the country’s ginning factories has reached 77.53 million bales, representing an 81% increase by November 30.

During the period, Punjab’s ginning factories saw a 49% increase, reaching 3.737 million bales, while Sindh’s ginning factories witnessed a remarkable 128% increase, reaching 4.016 million bales, equivalent to cotton lint.

Pakistan exported 1.25 million bales of cotton during this period, and textile mills purchased 6.755 million bales from ginning factories, with an additional 1.65 million bales imported from a foreign farm.

Ehsan ul Haq attributed the extraordinary decrease in cotton production in Punjab compared to the set target to extremely adverse weather conditions and severe damage to crops, especially due to an unusual attack by whitefly. Additionally, cotton cultivation in Punjab has been reported to be on a much smaller scale compared to the reported acreage.

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He mentioned that in Sindh, the record cotton cultivation in coastal areas in February/March, coupled with the absence of traditional rainfall during cotton sowing and picking times, not only resulted in a record increase in per-acre cotton production but also expected record cotton exports in the coming year.

Regarding the initial targets for the cotton season 2023-24 at the government level, Ehsan ul Haq informed that the overall national production target for cotton was set at 108 million bales, with 4 million bales allocated for Sindh and 8.337 million bales for Punjab. Surprisingly, Sindh has already achieved its target by November 30, while Punjab may achieve only 55% of its set target.

Taking into account the rapid onset of climatic changes that are expected to occur across the country, similar to the coastal cities of Sindh, it is anticipated that if the country initiates the new cotton season in February/March, Pakistan’s overall cotton production could reach around 15 million bales.

However, the focus in Pakistan has shifted from cotton production to its scarcity due to extraordinary increases in electricity and gas prices, interest rates on loans, and tax rates, resulting in major textile mills in Pakistan shutting down rapidly. Industries across Sindh have declared a complete shutdown from December 4 due to unprecedented increases in gas rates, and there are concerns that this trend may reach Punjab as well, causing extraordinary damage to the national economy.

Therefore, the federal government is urged to take measures that enable industries to operate fully, without considering the IMF’s concerns, to ensure the stability and growth of our industrial sector.

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