‘If you benefit off of Pakistan’s textile industry, now is the time to give back,’ Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr

The crop has experienced a huge loss following the floods.

Pakistani visual artist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr has tweeted regarding the damages caused by floods to the country’s cotton crop.

The crop has experienced a huge loss following the floods. He remarked that this is a crucial time to support Pakistani textiles, as most of the country’s cotton is sold to garment warehouses where it is made into t-shirts for international brands, like H&M and Zara.

Cotton needs water at specific points, and the drought earlier this year made things difficult, meanwhile, the recent floods have wiped away cotton fields in Dadu, Khairpur, Larkana, and South Punjab.

A surge in the prices of cotton

Pakistan is the world’s fifth largest cotton producer, and countries across the globe may feel the repercussions of the devastating floods. The natural calamity may lead to hindrance in cotton supply in the coming weeks and also cause the prices to soar.

According to the Minister of Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, 45% of the country’s cotton crops have been washed away. Pakistan exports cotton yarns to Bangladesh and China, and cotton fabrics to Bangladesh and the European Union.

Since cotton is an agricultural product, the flooding means a substantial financial loss to Pakistan’s cotton production and exports. The flooding may also contribute to a worldwide cotton shortage problem, meaning that the prices will reach a historical high.

Pakistani mills will have to look for ways to import cotton to meet their demand. The country is a significant importer of cotton from the United States, but due to the drought, the US crop is also likely to be down by a third or more from its usual size.

Top supplier to the US

Prior to the flood, Pakistan was one of the US fashion companies’ leading emerging apparel sourcing destinations, especially for cotton apparel products. The devastation due to floods and its impact on factory worker displacement and logistics will cause a big impact on garment exports, but this may not be seen for some time yet.

In recent months, Pakistan has emerged as a major finished garment supplier to the US. It is attractive to importers because it provides high-quality garments at competitive rates. After China, is is the cheapest place for US buyers to source apparel from on a per-unit basis.

Associate process of fashion and apparel studies at the University of Delaware, Dr Sheng Lu, said that in the first half of 2022, the value of US cotton apparel imports from Pakistsna increased by almost 50%.

According to North America partner at Gherazi, Bob Antoshak, the flood could drop Pakistan from its position as a top supplier temporarily. He added that we have to wait and see if that is the case when trade statistics are made public in a few days.

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