Poor weather and pest outbreaks depress production
To be clear, 95% of Pakistan’s cotton crop is GM Bt cotton, according to the USDA.
Pakistan cotton imports to triple, as output hits 17-year low
Agrimoney.com, 8 Jan 2016
Pakistan's cotton production has fallen even further than expected, to its lowest in 17 years, depressed by poor weather and pest outbreaks – leaving the country reliant on near-record imports to meet demand.
"Cotton crop prospects continue to erode" in Pakistan, said the US Department of Agriculture's Islamabad bureau said, pegging the crop at 7.5m bales, 500,000 bales below the department's official figure.
The worsened production outlook - representing a fall of nearly 30% year on year, to the weakest since 1998-99, will boost the country's reliance on imports.
The bureau pegged Pakistan's imports in 2015-16 at 2.70m bales – 700,000 tonnes above the USDA;s official guess, and more than triple those last season.
Imports at this level would also be the "second highest level ever", the bureau noted.
'Increased pest pressure'
Indeed, Pakistan, the world's fourth-ranked cotton producer after China, India and the US, typically relies on imports for only a small portion of its needs, and often on quality grounds.
It purchases, for instance, long staple cotton from the US, but will be forced this year to turn for extra supplies to India and West Africa too, the bureau said.
Pakistan's production hopes have been hurt by a reluctant by farmers to splash out on inputs, in the face of weak prices, with poor weather adding to crop woes.
Earlier this week, the International Cotton Advisory Committee cut to 637 kilogrammes a hectare its estimate for the Pakistan cotton yield this season, a drop of 22% year on year.
The ICAC cited "adverse weather, increased pest pressure from whitefly and pink bollworm, and the high cost of inputs discouraging farmers from better crop management".
The ICAC pegged production hopes at 1.7m tonnes, slightly behind the USDA bureau's figure…