Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has stressed the need for ensuring availability of high-yielding, pest-resistant certified cotton seed varieties to enhance local production, which is declining gradually.

In a meeting of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) on Wednesday, the minister said that the increase in cotton output was imperative for economic development and to ensure prosperity of the farming community. He called for utilisation of all available resources to improve the crop’s per-acre yield, adding that cotton was an important crop as 7% of the edible oil in Pakistan was also being produced by cotton.

“Year 2021 is considered a year of revival for the cotton crop by addressing all the issues and challenges faced by the farming community,” he remarked.

A representative of the PCCC underlined the need for adopting modern technology to ensure maximum production. Issues related to availability of funds for research and per-acre yield, pest attack and pesticides also came under discussion during the meeting.

The meeting suggested the use of BT and genetically modified seed varieties that could enhance crop production. It also emphasised the need for international support for research and development activities to produce high-yielding varieties.

Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad President Khalid Khokhar pointed out that the cost of production in the country was higher and needed to be reduced, besides fixing minimum support price for the crop.

He suggested that taxes and duties should be imposed on import of cotton to encourage local cotton production, besides revamp of the marketing mechanism.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2021.

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