Cotton export doubtful as rains damage crop

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LAHORE The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman Ijaz Gohar has said that country would be unable to export cotton as 16 million bales production target is unlikely to be achieved due to torrential rains.

Addressing a press conference, Gohar expressed his views in connection with the damage to the cotton crop as a result of rains, saying that before the floods Pakistan was expecting a bumper crop of 16 million bales.

According to estimates, the rains have destroyed approximately 1. 5 to 2 million bales leaving a short fall of about 1. 5 million bales in comparison to last year; therefore, the country will not be able to export its cotton production, however, it is sufficient to fulfil the local requirements.

He said that the current spell of monsoon rains which caused flash floods in Sindh as well as Punjab has badly affected the standing crops including cotton. In Sindh, the rains have destroyed crop of cotton over 200,000 acres of land and damaged approximately 1 million to 1. 5 million bales, he added.

He said that as per initial estimates, around 15 to 20 per cent of cotton crop has been damaged in Sindh as well as Punjab due to torrential rains. The yielding will likely to fall by 1. 5 to 2 million bales this year in both province as the Federal Ministry for Food and Agricultural had set the target of about 16 million bales for financial year (2011-12), he added.

In present scenario, we need the same support or at least one-off 5 percent mark up rate subsidy on all loans to create liquidity and save the textile industry from bankruptcy, he said adding that the current situation might turn into a Non Performing Loans crisis if no financial support is extended to the industry, he warned. He said it is impossible for the industry to operate on 14 percent plus mark up rate. The textile industry being an export industry cannot pass on the high costs of borrowing to buyers, he said.

He said that the government has not provided 3 percent mark up subsidy for over two years and it is right time to settle this facility by offering 5 percent mark up on loans for the whole textile chain. Aptma chairman urged the government to provide uninterrupted gas supply 7 days a week to the textile sector instead of five days a week.

Gohar Ejaz urged the government to adhere to its priority policy about supply of natural gas under which the textile sector has edge over IPPs.

He said that the captive power produced by the generators installed in the textile mills would produce equivalent power. He said that the government loses Rs3 per unit for the power supplied through the national grid. The state would thus also save billions daily when the demand would reduce by 1,000 MW.

The industry would be able to produce much cheaper electricity.

He pointed out that 1. 6 million cotton bales remained unconsumed during last quarter due to three-days-a-week gas closure.

Courtesy: Nation

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