COTTON Although cotton has been cultivated in the Indus River valley for centuries, it was grown mostly for household consumption Very little of it was marketed It took four developments, the full import of which were not realized at the time they occurred, to make cotton one of the most important crops for the Indus plain The first was the introduction of American cotton to Sindh and south Punjab; the second, the arrival of canal irrigation to the areas that could support the production of cotton; the third, the use of chemical fertilizer for cotton production; and the fourth, the use of chemical insecticides to save cotton from being damaged by disease and pests The fourth development contributed to Pakistan’s “second green revolution”For the last 50 years-ever since the introduction of irrigation in Sindh and south Punjab-raw cotton exports have been important for the areas that now constitute Pakistan It was because of the sharp rise in earnings from cotton exports, during the Korean War period, that Pakistan was able to finance its first industrial revolution Cotton exports were handled by large privately owned companies; there was an impression, particularly among the socialist circles from which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party drew its initial support, that the trading houses made large profits at the expense of the growers Accordingly, on assuming power, Bhutto nationalized external trade in cotton and other agricultural commodities and established a public-sector trading company, the Pakistan Trading Corporation, to handle commodity exports During the period of Zia ul-Haq, private-sector activity was encouraged, and large private entrepreneurs returned to industry, in particular to cotton-based manufacturing

In the 1980s and the early part of the 1990s, there was such a great deal of new investment in cotton-related industries that during lean years, Pakistan was forced to import raw cotton Another unhappy development in the early 1990s-the arrival of a highly destructive fungus called “cotton rust”-inflicted heavy damage on the crop and hence on the economy Cotton remained the main cash crop of Pakistan, although with the rapid development of the textile industry in anticipation of the removal in January 2005 of the quotas instituted on exports under the Multifiber Arrangement, its export declined significantly Much of the crop produced at home was used by the domestic industry

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