Cotton production this year is proving to be a silver lining for Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, with an impressive 83 per cent increase in production for the 2023-24 season, totalling 6.79 million bales.
According to an estimate by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Forum, cumulative production in the current season may reach around 9 to 9.5 million bales, a significant improvement from the previous year’s production of 5 million bales. This can be attributed to favourable weather conditions.
However, it’s worth noting that the production is still below the government’s target of 11.5 million bales.
According to Express Tribune, the recent 193 per cent increase in gas prices has exacerbated challenges faced by textile manufacturers and exporters, reducing the country’s competitiveness among regional textile exporters.
Another discouraging factor is for the farmers, as the market is offering them Rs7,000 per 40 kilogrammes, falling short of the government’s announced support price of Rs8,500 per 40 kilogrammes.
The government has yet to fulfil its promise of purchasing cotton to stabilise market prices.
The Caretaker Prime Minister has urged the activation of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, but this action is contingent on approval from the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet, which has not yet occurred.
Ginners has mentioned that the increase in cotton production will save the country approximately $1 billion in import costs.