ISLAMABAD – Between 60 and 80 per cent of the Better Cotton project area in Pakistan has been impacted by the recent flooding. Pakistan is among the world’s top five producers of Better Cotton, however, the floods have wreaked havoc in the country’s agricultural sector, costing US$2.6bn in cotton crops alone suggest latest government estimates.
According to reports, the flooding saw twice as much rainfall as is normally expected, with 1,150 people having died and around 33 million being affected.
Pakistan is already suffering from severe economic challenges with inflation running at around 25 per cent and foreign currency reserves at near-record lows. The flash-floods threaten to morph into a broader humanitarian crisis.
Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest cotton producer, and the textile sector alone accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s exports. Textiles is an industry of huge strategic importance to Pakistan and being able to service its own textile sector via locally grown cotton has hitherto been a source of competitive advantage for the country. This is now under threat and cotton imports will have to increase in the coming months, placing further strain on already dwindling foreign currency reserves.
There is frustration among many leaders in Pakistan that while the country is responsible for less than 1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is eighth on a list of countries deemed most vulnerable to extreme weather events.
Cotton sourcing specialists, The Sourcery, have now launched a fund via which people can donate directly to support impacted cotton farmers on the ground in Pakistan. Details can be found here:
Crispin Argento, managing director at the Sourcery, says: “As a sourcing agency in fashion and textiles, we recognize that this is not just the loss of fibre for our industry that thousands of suppliers depend on to make the textiles and clothing that brands buy and consumers buy and wear. More importantly, this 45% equates to millions of farmers whose livelihoods also depend on cotton as their primary cash crop and because of this tragedy, these farmers will not have the money they need to survive or food to eat from the other crops (vegetables, fruits, etc.) sowed along with cotton.
“Unlike growers in other parts of the world, these growers don’t have crop insurance, savings or a safety net, etc. and it will take them a generation or more to recover their losses from one year of crop failure. Many won’t recover at all.
“Sourcery is asking for you, our Partners, clients and friends to consider consider donating funds to support these farmers and rural communities. Typically, a farmer in Pakistan will make about USD $300/season from selling his/her cotton. So we are asking for 30,000 EUR to start so that we can support up to 1,000 farmers and their families whose income was lost.
“Although we know that the government of Pakistan, international aid organisations and non-profits will be pouring in millions of donations and funds in the coming weeks to help Pakistan, often these funds are trapped in administrative bureaucracy and do not reach the people who need support today.”