ISLAMABAD In order to fulfil the domestic shortage of cotton caused by devastating floods, the Government would have to import additional three million bales of cotton in the current fiscal year 2010-11, sources informed TheNation on Saturday. According to the figures available with TheNation, total consumption of the local industry is about 15.5 million bales of cotton against the targeted production of 14 billion bales, showing a shortfall of about 1.5 million bales. However after the flash floods, the shortfall might be around 4.5 million bales. The country would need to import 4.5 million bales to meet the domestic requirements. Sources said that Govt planned to import one to two million bales in the annual budget, however it would have to import additional three million bales after floods. The cotton production contributes significantly to foreign exchange earnings as it accounts for 8.6 percent of the value of agriculture. It will decline to 11 million bales against its target of 14.1 million bales in the current year due to widespread devastation caused by flash floods. The cotton crop has been seriously damaged in Bakkhar, Layyah and Mianwali districts apart from many other areas in southern districts of Punjab and other provinces. Sources told TheNation that textile stakeholders had already started negotiations with India and Brazil for importing one million bales of cotton at present, while remaining three to four million bales remaining would be imported in the coming months. According to the sources, the Government would have to spend around two to three billion dollars to import the cotton bales from other countries. It is worth mentioning here that cotton was sown over 3.1 hectares in the current Kharif season out of which the floods have destroyed crops at 0.51 million hectares, as a result the production is expected to decline by almost 15 percent and will remain 11.7 million bales as against the targeted cotton production of 14 million bales in 2010. Two million bales of cotton have been destroyed only in Punjab due to floods while the rest is wiped out in other parts of the country.