Tuesday, February 7

Cotton sector if ignored will bring more harm: Expert

KARACHI:Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain has said cotton sector if ignored will inflict more harm on the economy than coronavirus, state-run corporations and circular debt.

Talking to the business community, he said that the area under cotton cultivation and its production is declining for a decade and now the cotton output has reached to the lowest mark of 5.5 million bales creating new challenges.

Hussain said that the continued fall of cotton has inflicted a loss of around 36 billion dollars over the past decade which it has increased import bill, stoked unemployment and taken toll on the rural communities. He said that the veteran business leader said that cotton collapse in resulting in the direct losses of two billion dollars and indirect losses of eight billion dollars per annum.

The country is suffering from losses of 700 million dollars on account of cottonseed oil while the losses in the cottonseed cake is almost USD1.5 billion. Pakistan used to have almost 84 million tonnes of cottonwood stick and crop reduction is causing deforestation in the country which must be noticed.

The business leader said that cotton crisis has demanded the whole chain – from planter to the value-added sector while sixty percent cotton ginning factories have been closed leaving millions unemployed.

He said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan should take note of the situation and establish a cotton control board so that situation could be improved. The board should supervise the whole process from cotton sowing to value-addition including proper use of certified seeds, urea, pesticides, water, picking, ginning, spinning etc. to properly cater to the interests of all the stakeholders.

No other crop should be allowed in the cotton belt, ginners should have a uniform and concessionary power tariff and support price for cotton should be announced without any delay. He said that authorities should take Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) into confidence to improve the overall situation.