ISLAMABAD: Considering the loss of $ 36 billion for the country due to the low cotton production in 10 years, Prime Minister Imran Khan charged Gohar Ejaz, chief boss of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), to launch efforts to revive cotton production.
Gohar Ejaz has accepted a leading role in efforts to revive this essential culture. Previously, he had played a key role in improving cotton production in 2003 with then Minister Razzak Dawood.
Their efforts have led to a record production of 14.2 million bales which, sadly, is expected to hit a 21-year low this year at 7.5 million bales. When contacted, Ejaz said once seen as Pakistan’s lifeline, cotton has not received its rightful share over the past decade, dragging the cotton sector into a serious crisis. “Pakistan’s textile industry is thriving on cotton production which has fallen from 15 million bales, resulting in losses of nearly $ 36 billion over the past decade,” he added.
The decline in cotton production has sent shock waves through various industries, especially in textiles, across Pakistan and the country is directly losing $ 2 billion and at least $ 8 billion annually. Ejaz said the increase in cotton production would have a direct impact of $ 1 billion for 1 million bales and a 7-fold multiplier effect on budget inputs.
The country had imported cotton worth $ 9 billion over a decade, lint production of $ 8.3 billion in the past 6 years, and other contributors due to loss of seeds , oil, etc. Surprisingly, these losses represent only 35% of the cotton production value chain.
The cost of importing cotton for the textile industry has increased by more than 6 percent, rendering our products uncompetitive in international markets and losing our regional comparative advantage over our competitors.
Cotton needs special attention to reverse these huge losses. APTMA has already pledged to double Pakistan’s textile exports over the next four to four years. This requires cotton that is available in the country, at competitive prices, of good quality and without contamination.
Ejaz said the area and cotton production have declined due to low productivity, resulting in low profitability. He said cotton was the raw material for 400 textile factories in Pakistan, which earned 60% of foreign revenue and contributed 8.5% to GDP, accounted for 70% of costs, and that any volatility in prices or amount of cotton had a significant impact on production and farmers’ income. Cotton contributed 0.8% to GDP and 4.1% of total agricultural value added, he added.
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