ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam chaired a meeting for revival of cotton, here Wednesday. - PID photo

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam has said that cotton growers need to be given confidence and relief and will be given incentives by the federal and provincial governments in form of cotton-specific subsidies.
Imam said this on Wednesday while chairing a meeting regarding the revival of cotton in the country. Federal Secretary for National Food Security and Research Ghufran Memon and ministers and secretaries of agriculture from all provinces were present at the meeting.
The federal minister informed that there are 3 major varieties of cotton seed available, while 23000 tons of certified cotton seed is available with a germination percentage of 75 percent as compared to a 47 percent germination rate last year. He said that Punjab Seed Council has introduced 17 new varieties including a double-gene variety whereas Sindh has introduced 3 varieties.
He said that subsidy on pesticides for whitefly and pink bollworm and subsidies on cotton seed will be given to cotton growers. The minister added, “It will be ensured that the subsidy reaches the farmers and does not get lost in the middle.”
Along with this, subsidy for tractors and loan markups and fertilizer will also be provided for farmers in general. He advised against the mixing of cotton varieties as it lowers the quality of cotton and to reduce trash content in cotton that can lead to lower profitability. He also advised district wise monitoring of cotton growth and said that a total of 6 million bales of cotton are expected to be grown this year.
The Sindh representative informed the meeting that out of 341 cotton gins, only about half are functioning in the province due to declining cotton production. It was suggested by the Sindh agriculture ministry that a sum of Rs3 billion is estimated for the revival of cotton crop in Sindh in terms of research, genetic engineering amongst other services for the farmers. It was also suggested that a minimum support price should be timely announced as an incentive for farmers.
The Punjab’s agricultural ministry’s representative pointed out the need for streamlining the availability of pesticide, availability of improved variety of seeds and the area-wise identification of varieties at hand.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s secretary for agriculture said that D.I Khan cultivates cotton and incentives for cultivation to cotton farmers is essential. Ginning mills should be set up in KP to increase cotton cultivation following the model of sugar mills to increase production of sugar cane.
The DG agriculture, Balochistan, said that 17 districts of the province are producing cotton and are currently in production stages. Four districts of Balochistan are producing organic cotton and more organic cotton production is being promoted in Balochistan. The Balochistan government is also signing MoUs with various companies to support the production of non-GMO cotton seeds. – TLTP