Survival of cotton in Pakistan

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By Muhammad Ibrahim Khan via AgriHunt

THE EXPORT quantum depends on cotton production, domestic consumption and exportable surplus during the year. This year, the government should ban purchase of cotton by CEC and cotton exporters totally because the production will only meet the requirements of the textile spinning industry. CEC should play its role in stabilising the cotton prices and safeguard the interests of growers, ginners, textile spinners and other consumers of cotton.
Pakistans textile industry is totally dependent on raw material, specially cotton, which occupies a unique position among various cash crops of the country and it is life blood of the national economy. Raw cotton and its by-products contribute about 69 per cent of our total foreign exchange earnings. It is a major source of income and employment generation in agricultural and industrial sector. It provides jobs to about 7 million people, raw material to 1255 ginning units, more than 300 textile mills and 800 oil expelling units. It also meets about 55 per cent of domestic edible oil requirements indirectly.
Punjab produces 86 per cent and Sindh 14 per cent of cotton annually.
Pakistan has remained the 5th largest producer of cotton in the world. About 65 per cent of cotton produced in the country is normally consumed by the domestic textile industry. But last year the cotton production was dropped to 7.4 million bales due to dryness, leaf curl virus disease and improper training and pesticides use by farmers. It was not enough to meet the domestic demand for textile spinning industry.
Pakistan has also remained the second largest exporter of cotton in the world. the countrys cotton exports to over 45 countries. In Far East, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea are important buyers while in near East, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are major buyers. In South East Asia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia are main buyers. Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal are major buyers in Europe.
The average yield of cotton in Pakistan is 668 pounds per acre while in Israel and Australia, yield per acre is 1302 and 1228 pounds respectively. In 1993-94, crop production and per acre yield both dropped directly due to dry condition and mainly by leaf curl virus disease. The target had dropped from 12 million bales to 7.2 million bales.
In the year 1994-95, US report estimated nearly 9 million bales of cotton in Pakistan. the government of Pakistan expects 9.6 million bales of cotton for the current year while Ibrahim Associates (Pvt) Ltd. estimates cotton production 7.8 million bales to 8.3 million bales for the year 1994-95. This year 20 per cent crop in Sindh has been washed away by heavy rains. In Punjab, D.G. Khan and Bahawalpur badly hit by rains. This year, due to the rainy season, the attack of jassid, aphid, whitefly and boll warm has been increased compared with the previous year experience of price hike of cotton. The area under cultivation of cotton has been enhanced by 7.5 per cent.
The leaf curl virus disease will also affect badly this year also, perhaps more than previous years damage through mixing of infected varieties seed by common farmers while at cultivation. It has been recommended by some agricultural and plants breeding and genetics experts of Pakistan and abroad if cotton crop cultivation may stop up to three years within the country to eliminate the leaf curl virus disease. In order to check this suggestion, we have stopped cultivation of cotton in Kot Adu Tehsil for three years. This year we cultivated cotton only less than two acres after three years, the leaf curl virus disease has been found positively. We, being agricultural experts, have reached conclusion through our experiments that the seeds are responsible for this cause of leaf curl, virus disease of cotton.
This disease is present in seeds hereditarily although it was a certified seed of the Punjab Seed Corporation. It is the need of the time to check seeds of cotton properly through modern scientific equipments of laboratory of all varieties of cotton and clear free virus disease seeds should be provided to farmers with proper training. The other harmful thing is the pre-planned spray programme by some insecticides/pesticides firms. There must be a system of diagnose of disease of cotton and proper medicine with spray should be prescribed by entomologists.
The cotton yield in Pakistan has been dropped from 770-kg per hectare to 556-kg per hectare. Another main factor is the non-provision of credit facility to small and median farmers in order to purchase inputs. Large farmers enjoy at the mercy of government because of their special affiliation. In Pakistan, cotton agronomic practices, plants protection measures, picking, ginning and marketing is completely un-scientific and in the hands of speculative minded persons.
There are proper requirements of actual research rather than table or desk research after enjoying proper funds and facilities. There is a need to produce sense of countrys development and benefits at the cost of self benefits.
This year, there is a possibility of hoarding of cotton by some biggest textile units and investors. The small units will absolutely be closed positively. The widespread of spray of insecticides and pesticides on cotton crop will add environmental pollution upto more extent. More use of heavy and highly poisonous medicine while spraying cotton will bring chemical (poisons) affects transmission to ginning, spinning and weaving absolutely, which will adversely affect the human health by wearing such type of clothes. Therefore, in order to avoid lethal and tremendous side effects of more use of insecticides and pesticides, there must be minimum use of these chemicals while spraying. The main cotton disease in Pakistan is leaf curl virus disease which is strongly decreasing quality and quantity of cotton within the country. There is not any proper medicine to eliminate this disease. The chemicals (medicines) are mostly used to reduce the multiplication of aphids, Jassids and whitefly. No doubt, whitefly is carrier of germs of leaf curl virus disease from infected plants to healthy plants. By destroying whitefly by insecticides, you will never destroy the leaf curl virus disease because 40 per cent of this disease is transmitted through seeds. For this, farmers will have to make proper medicine like quinine for combating malaria. Because the leaf curl virus disease is closely linked with human disease malaria, the former is transmitted through some species of whitefly and later through some species of mosquito from infected to healthy one. But there is not proper remedial measures for leaf curl virus disease like quinine – a proper remedy to malaria. There is a need to find it a challenge to agri scientists. It has been found that some species of aphid, whitefly, jassid and other harmful insect pests of cotton are highly resistant to insecticides and pesticides present now. There is a need to provide remedial measures other than chemicals in order to destroy harmful insects of cotton. For example, in Egypt, sex trap technique has been introduced. In this technique, in a plastic box, a capsule with sex substance (taken from female insect pests and treated chemically is placed and the box is filled with water at different places in the field. This box has 100 meters diameter range of its influence to attract the male insect pests. As a result, male insect pests are attracted to it and drowned in water. Briefly, no eggs are fertiled. Therefore, the generation of insect pests may be stopped. In this way, the use of pesticides and insecticides will decrease and production cost of cotton will also decrease. The major thing which will happen is the reduction in environmental pollution.
Previous year, the cotton prices rose from Rs. 800 per maund to Rs. 2500/- per maund. This year, previous year the situation will automatically be repeated. Similarly, the yarn and fabric prices will also remain unstable throughout the year. The price of cotton will naturally shoot-up at the time of extensive buying of cotton by some spinning mills and when more than two or three mills are buying from the same ginning factory in competition with one another. This year, it is expected that ginners with their investor friends will try to maintain price of cotton at a higher level for long duration of time.
APTMA claims that its annual requirement of cotton for spinning mills is 8.5 million bales to 9.00 million bales. In real term, 8.00 million bales of cotton are enough for spinning textile industry because one-thirds of spinning mills are manufacturing polyester cotton yarn, 100 per cent polyester, viscose and acrylic yarn and their mixed yarn.
The export quantum depends on cotton production, domestic consumption and exportable surplus during the year. In this year, the government should ban purchase of cotton by CEC and cotton exporters totally because the production will only meet the requirements of the textile spinning Industry. CEC should play its role in stabilising cotton prices and safeguard the interests of growers, ginners, textile spinners and other consumers. It must introduce scientific marketing system in cotton trading free from speculation, hoarding and other malpractices present already within the country.


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