Cotton serves as the base for the nation's industrial sector. Production of cotton was reported at a record high of 15 million bales of 470 lbs each in the form of phutti (seed cotton) during 2014–15; this was an 11% increase compared to the previous season (2013–14). Its phenomenal growth was from 1.38 million bales in 1961 to 11.138 million bales in 2014, with the estimated 2014–15 figures showing a further increase to 15 million bales. Between 1980–81 and 1990–91, the growth in production was rapid, with production rising from 0.70 million to 2.2 million tonnes, which was called the "magic year" of Pakistan's cotton industry. This was attributed to better pest control measures, the use of improved seed types, and increased use of fertilizers. The cotton and textile industries are integrated and account for 1,000 ginneries, 425 textile mills, and 300 cottonseed crushers and oil refiners. Cotton hybrids, created by crossing the Bt gene into traditional varieties, have been developed by local firms dealing with seeds. In Sindh province cotton is grown in more than one million acres in the districts of Benazirabad, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Mirpur Khas, Naushero Feroz, Sanghar, Badin, Sukkar, Ghotki, Tharparkar, Thatta, and Umar Kot.
In terms of production, Pakistan is at the fourth position among the cotton growers of the world; the first three are China, India and the United States, in that order Raw cotton exported from Pakistan holds third position in the world as per records of 2012–13. Consumption-wise it holds the fourth position (about 30 and 40 per cent of its production). It is the largest exporter of cotton yarn.
Cotton produced within the country is of the medium staple. Hence long-staple cotton is imported to produce quality fabrics for export. Medium staple cotton, also called standard medium-staple cotton is American Upland type with staple length varying from about 1.3–3.3 centimetres (0.51–1.30 in). Long-staple kinds of cotton have relatively longer fiber, are expensive, and used mostly to make fine fabrics, yarns, and hosiery. The country's economic development is largely dependent on the cotton industry and its related textile sector, and this has given a principal status to cotton in the country. Apart from use in textiles in the form of cotton lint, yarn, thread, cloth, and garments, its seeds are used for oil extraction.