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January 11, 2005



Pakistan Cottonseed Production To Rise By 35%


The cottonseed production is expected to reach a record high this season with an expected increase of over 35 percent on the back of bumper cotton crop.


The local growers said the rise in oilseed production would ultimately have a positive impact on edible oil production, which meets only 30 percent of the total consumption.


"This is due to very good cotton crop," said Haji Muhammad Ibrahim, chairman Pakistan Cotton Growers Association (PCGA). "This year we expect to cross half million tons mark for cottonseed production. But it is little early to give exact figures."


He said the cotton production is expected to be all-time high this season as the crop arrivals, recorded as on January 1 at the ginneries, stood at 13.102 million bales.


"This is an increase of 63.18 percent compared to the last year," said Mr Ibrahim. "This is the highest crop volume Pakistan has ever had in its history. So ultimately the cottonseed production would rise at the same pace."


An initial PCGA estimation puts cottonseed production at 550,00 tons by the season's end, 37.5 higher than the last year's figures. The growers said that last year's cotton cultivation areas produced around 400,000 tons of cottonseed, which was below standard and not preferred by the oil millers for production. However, growers said that quality cotton crop also returns better cottonseed production.


"Last year most of the production went waste," said Dr Reham Ali Shah, a grower from Sindh. "It was due to lower than targeted crop and inefficient extraction through expellers."


But, he said, this season proved profitable for growers both in terms of cotton and cottonseed production, which are set at Rs 2,159 and Rs 925 per maund, respectively by the federal government as their support prices. The growers and millers believe the increase in cottonseed production would give better returns in the production of edible oil from the particular seed.


As for the high output of edible oil, Pakistan currently produces only 30 percent of total edible oil consumption including cottonseed oil, sunflower palm oil. The millers say as the cottonseed oil is the largest produced edible oil locally, its record production would ultimately increase overall edible oil production figures.


"In domestic production, the share of cottonseed is 70 percent," said Nishat Hasan, a producer and importer of edible oil. "We have received good cotton crop so as the cottonseed. So I think the production of cottonseed oil would go up significantly but it would be clearer in a month or two."


But he said overall production of oilseeds could not meet the increasing requirements due to declining area and production, blaming poor agricultural policies which discourage support price and its non-availability to the growers.


The total production of edible oil in the country is 550,000 tons about 30 percent of the domestic requirements, while about 70 percent is met through imports.

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