Cotton contamination causes Pakistan a loss of at least $1.4 billion annually, stated First Quarterly Report of State Bank for FY05 released on Wednesday quoting All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).
However, SBP said that the Pakistan Textile Journal has estimated this amount at $3.0 billion.
The central bank noted that the quality of cotton, as determined on the basis of its colour, length, strength, fitness and most of all the degree of contamination, greatly affects its price.
Pakistan Central Cotton Committee Survey 2001 carried out by the International Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ Federation has classified Pakistan’s cotton as being among the most contaminated.
In fact, the International Textile Manufacturing Forum advises member textile units to avoid using yarn and fabrics from Pakistan due to its contamination.
“This survey was based on the analysis of 243 spinning mills located in 24 countries,” stated the report adding, “It is found that cotton from India, Pakistan, Turkey and Tajikistan were the worst contaminated.”
SBP maintained that appropriate contamination control measures could raise the value of cotton production by 10 to 15 percent.
The report said that the contamination of raw cotton takes place at every step from the farm picking to the ginning stage.
Cotton contamination includes human hair, women scarf shreds, strands of polypropylene bags, leaves, flowers, sticks, weed, immature balls, trash, dust and other materials.
Moreover, addition of water by pickers, picking before dew dries up and storage of cotton on wet soil to increase its weight spoils its quality.
However, the SBP noted that the major reason of contamination was lack of awareness on importance of reducing it as well as low economic incentives for reducing contamination.
Suggesting various measures to reduce contamination the central bank recommended introduction of standardised picking storage and marketing of raw cotton and dissemination of awareness through mass media to the targeted segment. SBP recommended use of cloth bags for cotton picking instead of jute and polypropylene, picking during proper sunshine, variety wise picking, storage of cotton at ‘pucca’ floors and use of metal body open trolleys for transportation.
SBP suggested that the pickers should be paid in cash instead of cotton to avoid contamination, which takes place at picker’s home.
Quarterly Report recommended that the moisture of cotton has to be maintained at 8 percent, carefully observed by moisture meter as against twelve to thirteen percent prevailing commonly.
SBP observed that the achievement of zero contamination was impossible but reducing it to significantly lower levels was practicable.
Furthermore, it noted that in order to improve the cotton quality gradually the government had introduced scale of premium price.
Courtesy: `Business Recorder