Pakistan’s cotton production in 2015-16 declined by 28 per cent. Reasons include: climate change, competition with other crops, lower market prices and the outbreak of pink bollworm. In Pakistan, economic losses from contamination cost the cotton value chain, from raw cotton to garments, $1.4 billion per year.
Pakistan’s future cotton policy envisages a number of strategies which include germ-plasm improvements, development of hybrid cotton, improved farm and crop management, bringing additional area under cultivation, minimising post-harvest losses, increasing cotton production, improving yields per hectare, evolving disease resistant varieties, promoting Bt cotton cultivation and improving the overall quality of cotton.
Cotton in Pakistan is grown by 1.3 million farmers on over 3.1 million hectares of land, which is 15 per cent of the cultivable area of the country, with the average production hovering around 12.7 million bales to 14 million bales. This is consumed largely by the country’s 521 textile mills, although a significant quantity (up to a million bales) is also exported. However, to meet the demand for extra-long staple cotton, about two million bales are imported annually.