Use of jute bags harming cotton quality

Successive governments have failed to implement the ban on the use of jute and polypropylene bags for the transportation of seed cotton.

A large quantity of raw lint is still being packed in material detrimental to the quality and moister of the stuff. Cotton can fetch better price in the international market if the problem of contamination in raw crop, use of polypropylene bags and standardised system for production is fully implemented. A senior member of Karachi Cotton Association and member of Pakistan Yarn Merchant Association, Ghulam Rabbani said contamination continues to be the most serious problem affecting the cotton spinning industry, and this should be resolved.

He said Pakistan exports around 61 percent of its cotton in the shape of raw cotton, yarn, cloth and garments while the remaining cotton is used domestically in the form of finished products. He said seed cotton should be brought to the ginning factories in cotton cloth bags or open trolleys, while market committees of the selected lint production districts in Punjab and Sindh should be mobilised effectively to check contamination of cotton by traders during storage. He said steps should be undertaken to overcome the problem to fully transform, introduce cotton standardisation system for the production of high quality contamination free cotton, so as to restore its credibility in the international market and fetch its real intrinsic value.

Rabbani said around 1.4 million farmers (out of the total of 5 million) cultivate cotton over 3.1 million hectares, covering 16 percent of the cultivable area in the country. Rabbani said cotton production supports Pakistan’s largest industrial sector, comprising more than 400 textile mills, 7.5 million spindles, 29,000 looms in the mill sector (including 16,000 shuttle-less looms), over 270,000 looms in the non-mill sector, 800 knitwear units, 5,000 garment units (with 210,000 sewing machines), 675 dyeing and finishing units (with finishing capacity of 1,200 million square meters per year).

He said nearly 1,100 ginneries, 330 oil expellers and 18,000 to 21,000 indigenous, small-scale oil expellers (kohlus) were working in the sector. It is by any measure Pakistan’s most important economic sector and not surprisingly, government policy has generally been used to maintain a stable and often relatively low domestic price of cotton, especially since 1986-87, through the imposition of export duties in order to support domestic industry. By doing so the government would show its commitment towards making progress on 27 international conventions it has signed as a prerequisite to obtaining Generalised System of Preferences plus status obtained in 2014. Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world, the third largest exporter of raw cotton, the fourth largest consumer of cotton and the largest exporter of cotton yarn in the world. The cotton and cotton products contribute about 11 percent to gross domestic product and 56 percent to the foreign exchange earnings of the country.

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