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Intern Publication 3: Cotton Production in Pakistan

By: Shaharzade Sharjeel (Summer Intern 2019- Batch One)

Like most developing countries, Pakistan is an agro-based economy, with agriculture contributing to 18.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic product (GDP), and employing 38.5% of the country’s national labor force. In terms of agricultural value addition, cotton is the second most important cash crop of Pakistan, with a 4.5% contribution. Moreover, cotton contributes to 0.8% of the country’s GDP and is an important source of foreign exchange.

Given Pakistan’s dependence on the cotton crop for both the agriculture and textile industries, improving the agricultural productivity of cotton is of extreme importance. Low cotton yields do not only impact those involved with growing and selling it, but also adversely affect cotton textile prices, decreasing exports.

Thus, the purpose of this paper is to analyze cotton production over the past 19 years, with the help of data provided in the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2018-2019, and to identify different factors that might lead to low or high cotton productivity over the years.

The following are the salient findings from the study:

  1. In the past 19 years there has been an 18.2% decrease in the area of cropland under cotton.
  2. The percentage of total cropland under cotton has decreased by 2.8% since the fiscal year 2000-01.
  3. Cotton production decreased by 148 thousand tonnes from 2000.
  4. Cotton yield increased by 83 kg/hectare over the past 19 years.
  5. Water availability is the lowest it has been in the past 19 years (127.40 MAF).
  6. Area irrigated by canals decreased by 1.32 million hectares.
  7. The percentage share of cotton output decreased by 5.49% from the year 2000 to 2019.