The Role of Cotton in Pakistan

Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world, the third largest exporter of raw cotton, the fourth largest consumer of cotton, and the largest exporter of cotton yarn. 1.3 million farmers (out of a total of 5 million) cultivate cotton over 3 million hectares, covering 15 per cent of the cultivable area in the country. Cotton and cotton products contribute about 10 per cent to GDP and 55 per cent to the foreign exchange earnings of the country. Taken as a whole, between 30 and 40 per cent of the cotton ends up as domestic consumption of final products. The remaining is exported as raw cotton, yarn, cloth, and garments.

Cotton production supports Pakistan’s largest industrial sector, comprising some 400 textile mills, 7 million spindles, 27,000 looms in the mill sector (including 15,000 shuttleless looms), over 250,000 looms in the non-mill sector, 700 knitwear units, 4,000 garment units (with 200,000 sewing machines), 650 dyeing and finishing units (with finishing capacity of 1,150 million square meters per year), nearly 1,000 ginneries, 300 oil expellers, and 15,000 to 20,000 indigenous, small scale oil expellers (kohlus). It is by any measure Pakistan’s most important economic sector. Not surprisingly, government policy has generally been used to maintain a stable and often relatively low domestic price of cotton, especially since 1986-87 through the imposition of export duties, in order to support domestic industry.

Trends And Descriptions (Cotton)

Cotton is an oil crop, though grown mainly for its fiber. The fiber consists of long, fine, flattened and convoluted hairs called ‘lint’, which can be detached easily from the seed. The value and quality of the cotton variety depends on the fineness of the fiber as well as its length. The longer and finer the staple the better its quality, since it can be used to produce thinner and lighter textiles without knots or uneven surfaces. A single fiber is a little less in diameter than a human hair, and is measured in micronaires. Five different staple lengths are distinguished: short (less than 21 mm), medium (21-25 mm), medium long (26-28 mm), long (28-34 mm), and extra long (more than 35 mm). The majority of the world production (about 60 per cent) consists of medium long staple. Medium staple is around 18 per cent, and short staple a mere 3 per cent, produced almost exclusively in South Asia. Longer staple lengths (long and extra long), comprise around 18 per cent of the world production of cotton (during 1977-78 to 1981-82), and can only be grown in more or less ideal conditions regarding soil, water, temperature, and light.13 Slightly more than half of the increase in total output is accounted for by yield expansion. Yield trends can be divided into five different phases.

Constant yields: In the 1950s, yields remained more or less constant for the entire decade, from 1949-50 to 1959-60, at around 200 kilogram per hectare.

steady growth: the first spurt of growth took place in the 1960s, when yields rose steadily from 200 to 300 kilograms per hectare in 1970-71, and to 361 kilograms in 1971-72.

The first cotton crisis: A severe and persistent attack of the American bollworm devastated the crop during the 1970s, resulting in wildly fluctuating yields between a high of 377 and a low of 233 kilograms, re-attaining the 1971-72 figure only in 1979-82.

Rapid growth: The 1980s saw a dramatic growth in yields, from 364 kilograms per hectare in 1982-83 to 769 kilograms in 1991-92. This was also a period when the major expansion in pesticide use took place.

The second cotton crisis: Repeating the experience of 20 years earlier, the peak achieved in 1991-92 was followed by another severe and persistent pest attack, this time of the leaf curl virus and its disease vector, the whitefly. Yields dropped dramatically from 769 to between 500 and 600 kilograms per hectare.

Cotton Export(Goods)

Pakistan’s Cotton bags are made of 100% cotton cloths in different sizes. The products include shopping hags in grey, bleached, dyed and hand screen printed with pigment colours according to the buyer’s requirements for advertising and promotional activities of their products. Prints are made for prolonged colour fastness. Kit bags made of canvas cloths in different weight per sq. meter also made for sports, camping purposes, requirements of armed forces, schools, industrial, agricultural and miscellaneous commercial needs.

Cotton and Cotton products occupy a pivotal position in the economy of Pakistan. Pakistani Weaving industry has been producing sophisticated quality fabrics in line with the latest overseas demand. Made of superior Cotton, the textile fabrics of Pakistan are distinguished for their quality, texture, lustrous colour and rich combination of superior designs and competitive prices.

Pakistan’s Textile industry enjoys several advantages over many other countries as far as the production of quality fabric is concerned, which include availability of high-grade locally produced raw cotton and abundance of trained manpower.

Pakistan’s cotton is regarded as the best among varieties of cottons of similar staples grown elsewhere in the world. Pakistan’s cotton industry enjoys several advantages over those of many other counties as far as the production of quality fabrics and yam is concerned and is a world leader in the export of cotton yarn. including coarse, medium and fine varieties. Pakistan’s leading buyers are Japan, Republic Of Korea and Hong Kong.

Pakistan produces garments readymade of all pattern and styles, of the latest fashions and quality. The industry is adequately equipped to produce latest fashions to suit tastes and needs in any pan of the world. The products also include utility items such as service uniforms, overalls, shirts, jeans, night suits, uniforms for school, workers in industrial concerns catering establishments, etc . Leading Pakistani designers;, garment manufacturers and exporters display their designs and products regularly round the world in international fatrs and exhibitions and in trade centres like Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and Berlin, Two fashion fairs are also organized annually in Pakistan namely the Pakistan Textile and Clothing Fair, held in winter, and the Fashion Apparel Fair in summer.