The fond recollections of our mums bringing out hand-knit khaees and dariyan made of local cotton and proudly setting those out for the frequent guests have long since vanished. In addition, the cotton fields have gradually been replaced by concrete jungles and other “more profitable” crops.
Sarsabz Fertilizer recently released the second episode of its Sarsabz Kahani web series, “Khaki Desan,” which focuses on the true story of Jugnu Mohsin, a well-known entrepreneur and public figure, who quickly realised the lack of good quality home-grown cotton and its dying breed known as Khaki Desan that nobody was striving to preserve. This was done in an effort to try and revive this lost cultural heritage and crop. The quick movie explores the connection.
The recent drop in cotton production has a severe negative impact on the stability of our economy. The cotton crop represents a 0.8 percent share of the GDP and adds 5.2% to agriculture’s value addition, according to the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute. Additionally, cotton accounts for 51% of all foreign exchange revenues in the nation. Despite its economic importance, cotton production has almost halved in Pakistan over the past ten years, from 13.6 million bales in 2011–12 to about 7 million in 2020–21, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), cotton crop area has dramatically decreased to 2.2 million hectares, the lowest level since FY82.
Rabel Sadozai, Director Sales and Marketing at Fatima Fertilizer, claims that the Khaki Desan campaign is complex in a variety of ways. First of all, it aids in highlighting the critical issue of the recent reduction in cotton production. Additionally, it emphasizes how important cotton is to community support and the economic recovery of our nation. We support programs with a clear goal that advance knowledge of our society’s larger problems and have an immediate influence on our social and economic well-being.
The cotton belt, which is today primarily a sugarcane and rice belt studded with abandoned cotton ginning factories and dispersed housing societies, used to celebrate cotton harvest season with great excitement and fervor.
According to Fatima Fertilizer, this should begin with greater research spending on creating premium seed kinds that can successfully fend off insect attacks, water scarcity, and attacks from other pests while producing high yields. To encourage cotton farmers who have switched to rice or sugarcane to return to cotton harvesting, the policy should also support them in getting a decent return on their investment. The textile industry should be pushed to advertise its own brands globally while boasting that it uses the finest Pakistani cotton, rather than solely serving as a sourcing base for international brands. In order to control production costs and provide our farmers a level playing field against international rivals, fertiliser subsidies are also crucial.