ECC seems confused on cotton support price: FPCCI
FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel Secretary General Ahmad Jawad has said that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) seems confused as on one hand it rejected the cotton support price summary arguing agriculture is a devolved subject and in the next meeting approved a package for the agriculture sector.
He said, “Though the agriculture package is too meagre to meet needs of the agriculture sector especially to the small farmer badly affected by Covid-19.”
On 13th May, ECC approved a 50 billion agriculture package to provide the farmers with subsidy on fertilizers, cottonseed and whitefly pesticides; besides giving sales tax subsidy on locally manufactured tractors.
But when it comes to cotton support price, the same ECC rejected the summary of Ministry National Food Security and make an excuse that agriculture is a developed subject and support price was not competitive for the textile sector; though in 2019 country import of cotton was US$831.78 Million according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
“It’s imperative to encourage farmers to invest in other alternative crops such as cotton to strengthen the national economy as well as their own economic condition”.
He viewed that advisor to PM on commerce must understand that revival of textile exports cannot be achieved with the quantity and quality of cotton produced in Pakistan. “For the financial year of 2020 about 15 million bales of cotton are required but only half of that amount is produced locally”.
He questioned if Advisor to PM on Commerce didn’t agree with the support price but he wants to encourage cotton production in Pakistan then at least he had to speak in ECC and second the summary.
However, the ECC decision on 7th May, regarding the rejection of cotton support price reflects; that battle with the textile industry, growers who want the fair price of their products have lost the case against the strong lobby that has taken over the forum and got a decision in their favour.