In order to bridge the gap between production and consumption of raw cotton, Pakistan will have to foot a bill of around $1.58 billion for import of 4.5 million bales (170 kg each). In 2015-16, cotton production clocked up to 15 m bales in 2014-15 and 9.5 m bales. It is expected to be around 10.54 m bales in 2016-17.
Though Pakistan is the third largest raw cotton exporter it has been an importer for the last two years. Last year, the country imported around 2.7m bales from India at a cost of $800 m. The country has also lost its fourth position in the world in terms of the production of raw cotton. There was a time when Pakistan was the largest exporter of cotton yarn globally, says Asif Inam, Chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) for the Sindh-Balochistan zone.
About two months ago, cotton prices in India were low owing to higher cotton production estimates, Inam says. But prices have moved up substantially now, making the import of cotton from across the board costly, he added. In the beginning of the cotton season in India in October, prices were as low as Rs 35,000 per candy (356kg). More recently, the prices soared to Rs 50,000 per candy due to the intervention of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).