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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Kakar directs Trading Corporation of Pakistan to probe low cotton rates

Taking notice of the buying of cotton (Phutti) below the price fixed by the government to support farmers, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Sunday directed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to submit a report in this connection. The government had fixed the price of Phutti ( the raw cotton purchased by the ginners), but it was being observed that it was purchased from farmers below that minimum rate in some places, the PM Office Media Wing said in a news statement.

The caretaker premier noted that the yielding of a bumper cotton crop was a blessing for the country and its maximum profits should be reaped by the farmers. He added that the government had issued clear instructions over its purchase price to protect the farmers against any losses.

In March this year, the then premier Shehbaz Sharif approved Rs8,500 per 40 kg as the support price of Phutti to facilitate its farmers. In August, the TCP decided to purchase one million bales of cotton following the fall in its prices in the open market below the intervention threshold. It invited bids from cotton procurement agents, acquirement firms, and labor contractors.

At that time, Cotton Ginners Forum Chairman Ihsanul Haq said the subsidized rates for electricity and gas to textile mills had been withdrawn on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF pressure). Coupled with a record hike in production costs, an unusual decline was observed in cotton purchases by the textile mills.

The rate of cotton in Sindh as per quality is between Rs 13,500 to Rs 16,000 per maund. The rate of Phutti is around Rs 5,500 to Rs 7,000 per 40 kg. The rate of cotton in Punjab is between Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000 per maund while the rate of Phutti is between Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,200 per 40 kg.

Last Wednesday, the government projected cotton production at 11.5 million bales from cultivation over an area of 2.4 million hectares this season, which shows a significant jump of 126.6 percent over the output of last year. The farmers though dispute this claim.

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