LAHORE: Cotton growers say the government’s dream of getting 15 million bales of cotton may not materialise until it reduces the cash crop’s production cost, announces a support price and bans import of cotton.
Pakistan Kisan Ittehad president Khalid Mahmood Khokhar says in a press release that cotton yield target would only be achieved if the sowing of it was profitable.
Higher input cost of cotton production compared to other countries, lenient import policy without duty and from the land routes are putting lots of pressure on local cotton prices, he says.
“Even the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) has declared the cost of production in Pakistan is higher than in India, Turkey, Tanzania, Argentina, Australia and Brazil. And import from such countries without duty hurts the local prices and reduces profitability, which ultimately influence the growers’ choice for planting other crops instead of cotton.”
He alleges that as the textile industry which is the only buyer of cotton in the country monopolizes the market and suppresses the prices far below the international rates. In these circumstances, it is imperative to pay the support prices of cotton in order to secure growers profitability, which is widely practiced in the neighbouring country for over 27 crops including cotton.
He says that pro-industry policies of the past government about cotton import, “illegal” import from land routes and non-provision of support price resulted in over 30 per cent cut in cotton sowing area.
He calls for immediate appropriate decisions and protection for local agriculture in general and cotton in particular and suggests offering Rs4000 per 40 kg support price to restore confidence of the growers.