23 March 1999
Pakistan cotton crop fails

PAKISTANS cotton production has been hit by a fourth crop failure in five years, translating to a 20% fall in this years expected harvest.

The failure, the result of bad weather and pests, will have ramifications throughout the countrys economy, reports the Financial Times.

Cotton is Pakistans largest crop, while agricultural output contributes about one-quarter of annual gross domestic product.

The latest estimates from the agricultural ministry in Islamabad say the cotton crop may be no more than 8.6 million bales, against an initial target of 10.6m bales.

The Financial Times reports farmers are already turning to other crops in the face of the continuing threat to their livelihoods.