ISLAMABAD: With the devastating monsoon rain hitting cotton areas, the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association has approached the federal government to allow the import of cotton from India via Wagah to meet the rising export orders.

Exporters say early estimates show that 25 per cent of the standing cotton crop had been damaged and there was a possibility of a raw material shortage in the country.

Separately, in the wake of flood losses suffered by cotton harvest in Sindh and Punjab, the federal government on Wednesday formed a committee that will negotiate with seed companies and facilitate them to introduce state-of-the-art cotton seeds in the local market.

The decision was taken during a meeting at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to consult with stakeholders and review proposals for the enhancement of yield and area of cotton crops.

Exporters’ demand

“We have approached Finance Minister Miftah Ismail to look into one of our demands,” Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Patron in Chief Khurram Mukhtar told Dawn on Wednesday. He said actual calculations of cotton demand would be made after September 15. “We might need to import 2.5 million bales from India,” he said, adding that seemed to be the only viable option with lower logistics costs.

Mr Mukhtar said the minister has assured them he would take up the issue with coalition partners and other stakeholders.

Last week, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that he personally supported the idea to allow the import of vegetables from India and that international organisations had approached Pakistan to import food items from India as part of relief operations. However, the minister said that the decision in this regard will be taken after consultation with coalition partners.

To extend support to the textile exporters, Mr Mukhtar said that the association also took up the issue of pending refunds with the finance minister to resolve the liquidity crunch facing exporters.

The pending refunds of exporters with the Federal Board of Revenue stood at Rs36 billion of deferred sales tax while 32,000 pending cases are to be disbursed in due course. The association demands improvement in the clearance of pending cases.

Cotton seed

A meeting chaired by Minister for National Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema, decided to encourage technology-providing seed companies to market their cotton seeds in Pakistan.

Mr Cheema said the latest seed technologies will help to enhance productivity, while the sector will benefit from the transfer of technology, adding that farmers will be encouraged to grow more cotton through such incentives.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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