ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economy will get a boost as the production of four important crops, as well as three minor crops, posted a record production this season from a year ago, indicating a lesser reliance on imports of eatables in 2021-22.
The lower crop yield of cotton is mainly due to a decline in sowing area and climatic changes which badly hit standing crop.
The estimates were framed by the National Accounts Committee (NAC) on the basis of provincial crop estimates to review the gross domestic product for 2020-21. The figures were revised from earlier estimates showing positive growth over last year.
Cotton production fell by 22.78 per cent to 7.064 million bales against 9.148m bales over the corresponding year. As per the statistics, cotton was sown on 2.079m hectares compared to 2.517m hectares last year, showing a decline of 17.42pc.
For a number of years, cotton was considered the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy but the crop is now facing tough competition from sugarcane and international prices.
Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam in a press conference on Saturday said that a massive drop in cotton yield is due to decline in Sindh. He said 2.1m bales were received in Sindh as against the target of 4.5m bales.
The minister said the standing crop was damaged due to excessive rain. He said Punjab has received only 3.8m bales this year, which is lower than last year. “This is a setback for our economy,” he said, adding the government will take several initiatives to achieve next year target.
The government has projected a 10.5m bales target for 2021-22. “This is a very ambitious target”, he agreed but said the government has already released over Rs6bn to provinces to provide quality seeds, pesticides and fertilisers to improve crop production.
As per estimation, 57pc of the cotton crop will originate from Punjab followed by 38pc from Sindh with KP and Balochistan contributing 5pc each. A sharp decline in cotton yield and cultivation was seen in Punjab during the last decade as sugarcane has replaced cotton as the cotton-growing built.
Fakhar Imam said quality seeds will also be provided for a better quality crop.
Cotton being an export-oriented raw material of over 450 textile industries, maintaining competitive prices with the international market and ensuring due profitability of growers has been a great challenge for policymakers and industries over the decade.
On the other hand, sugarcane production surged by 22.04pc to 81.009m tonnes in 2020-21 from 66.380m tonnes over the corresponding year.