Minfal to block move to allow cotton lint import

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal) will block any move of importing cotton lint by the millers before the final estimate of cottonseed local production.
Sources in the ministry told Business Recorder on Saturday that it would not permit any importer or miller to import cotton lint anticipating lesser production of the commodity, as it would create imbalance in the local market.
The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has estimated 12.4 million bales against the cotton production target of 13.8 million bales for 2006-07, while the Cotton Assessment Committee in its last meeting on November 20 had repeated the first estimate.
“We will review the whole cotton production scenario in March, when we have final figure of the crop size, if it did not meet the local consumption of the spinners, then they (spinners) will be allowed to import cotton lint,” the official added.
Millers are expecting a shortage of 1.5 million bales during the current season if Minfal’s estimate does not meet the target, hence, they are pursuing textile and commerce ministries for allowing import of lint, particularly from India. Recently, a person imported 3,000 lint bales from India and sought clearance of confiscated lint consignment through the commerce ministry, which would not be allowed, they said.
The consignment would not be cleared on two reasons, first, quarantine laws need amendment, and secondly, Lahore quarantine had not the facilities to apply bio-safety laws, he added.
To a question about permitting lint import, the official said that the industry would only permitted it in March when the government has final figure of lint size. There is enough lint in the country to meet the local consumption, he added.
About the size of the cotton crop, he said that it would be between 12 million and 12.5 million bales, including 0.6 million bales used in quilt and pillow-making.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2006