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November 1, 2022

Pakistan floods hit 40% of annual cotton crop

The devastating floods in Pakistan have affected some 40% of the country’s annual cotton crop, new reports have found.

By Michelle Russell

Floods that began in June have devastated Pakistan, with nearly 1,200 people killed, and recent estimates that the devastation is likely to lead to a large reduction in the crop for the 2022/2023 season for the world’s fifth largest cotton producer.  

In an update from Better Cotton, cotton farmers have experienced significant impacts due to flood water and/or flash floods. With rainwater still in the fields, farmers have not been able to conduct many of their regularly scheduled agricultural activities to harvest cotton.

Meanwhile, ginners located in flood-affected areas are closed, and other ginners are running factories with limited capacity. Better Cotton says its licensing for the 2022-23 season is now complete.

The Government of Pakistan is estimating that some 40% of the annual cotton crop has been affected or lost due to the flooding. Any Better Cotton shortfall this season from Pakistan will be supported by imports from key Better Cotton countries such as Brazil, USA, Australia and through Cotton made in Africa (CmiA). 

As such, Better Cotton says it does not foresee a shortage of supply in Pakistan this year. However, some of the impacts of the flooding in the 2022-23 cotton season may be experienced in 2023.

Heavy rains began flooding areas of Pakistan in June 2022, at the beginning of the monsoon season. The unprecedented rainfall caused devastating floods and landslides, affecting over 30 million people. Rainfall has decreased since the start of September and rivers have returned to their normal water levels, according to Better Cotton. Some districts are still affected by flood water and are projected to remain at least partially inundated until the end of the year.

Programme Partners including CABI, REEDS and SWRDO are working to use unspent Growth and Innovation Fund contributions to provide relief to affected farmers and workers. Planned activities include financial assistance for field staff to help with rebuilding their homes, medical support through mobile clinics, mosquito nets (due to a high outbreak of dengue fever in flooded areas), and seeds for farmers for the next cotton season.

“We continue to encourage members to support the UNHCR relief effort or the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent,” Better Cotton said.

The most recent Better Cotton Regional Member meeting was held on 6 October 2022. A variety of stakeholders including textile industry representatives, government officials, ginners, spinners, programme partners, and local and international NGO representative participated. The planned field trip was cancelled due to damaged crop areas and logistical constraints.

Click here to read more about the impact that floods have had on Pakistan’s cotton and apparel industry.

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