Cotton production likely to miss 2016-17 target

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Domestic cotton production may decline in the 2017-18 season due to a delay in harvesting and water shortage in Sindh irrigation system.

The Punjab Government delayed cotton harvesting by a month and directed it to start from April 1. This delay will hurt cotton production, stated Ahsan-ul-Haq, the chairman of Cotton Ginners Forum. He further stated that the Sindh canal and irrigation system has been disturbed leading to a severe water shortage.

Despite lower sowing in the current season, the Federal Cotton Committee set an unachievable sowing target area of 6 million hectares.

To add to this, the cotton production has been declining for the past few years because the government directed groups to set up sugar companies in many key zones. These companies have been encouraging growers to replace cotton cultivation with sugar cane resulting in declining yield of cotton.

Analysts fear that the textile companies would have to import more in 2017-18 if the cotton production target is missed.

During the current season, i.e. 2016-17 the cotton production stood at around 10.7 million bales against 2015-16  production of 9.6 million bales.