Climate damage to Pakistan's cotton crop ripples through economy

(Reuters News, 18 Dec 2019) Erratic weather is crippling Pakistan's already ailing cotton sector, and could cost the economy over $3 billion this year.

Mahboob Ahmad was so sure he would have a bumper crop of cotton last season that he was planning to finally fix the date of his eldest son's wedding.

Then unusually heavy rains pelted Khanewal district in eastern Pakistan's Punjab province, destroying the cotton plants just as they were fruiting.

"All my dreams and plans were shattered," said Ahmad. "I am so disappointed with this year's loss that I may quit cotton cultivation from next year."

Another season of erratic weather has crippled Pakistan's already ailing cotton sector, resulting in lost revenue and jobs that could cost the economy more than $3 billion by the end of the fiscal year in June 2020, industry experts have warned.

Heavy rains and high temperatures during the whole of the cotton-growing season from April to September severely damaged the crop, said Khalid Abdullah, cotton commissioner and vice president of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee.

That has put a strain on the entire textile industry, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Reuters News, 18 Dec 2019: Climate damage to Pakistan's cotton crop ripples through economy