ISLAMABAD, Dec 28 (Reuters): Pakistan's cotton output in the 2005/06 crop year will likely fall at least 12 per cent to below 13 million bales because of unfavourable weather, a government official said today.
Pakistan produced 14.8 million bales of cotton in the previous crop year.
The government originally forecast production at around 15 million bales this season, but the crop has been hit by a devastating flood that swept across parts of the main growing province of Punjab in September as well as pests, dealers said.
"We have scaled down our estimate to 12.72 million bales after the flood swept away the standing crop on 300,000 to 350,000 acres of land," Qadir Bux Baluch, cotton commissioner at Pakistan's Agriculture Ministry, said.
The provinces have given a rough estimate of over 12.7 million bales, but the figure should increase slightly when the final estimates become available, he said.
Farmers in the main cotton belt of central Punjab said they expected production figures to be as low as 12.5 million bales.
Pakistan fixed what the farmers and officials had considered a very ambitious target of 15 million bales in May, almost at par with the 14.8 million bales achieved in 2004/05.