ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (Alliance News): Ministry of National Food Security and Research would organize first cotton conference in March to discuss the issues and challenges faced by cotton growers and to device an action plan for promotion of the major cash crop. This was stated by Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, while chairing the annual meeting of Agriculture Policy Institute (API) Committee on Seed Cotton for 2022-23.
Imam said Prime Minister would inaugurate the cotton conference being organized to bring the key stakeholders at one platform to discuss the issues of the farming community, share the best practices, prepare an action plan for development of cotton crop in future.
The government was focusing on revival of cotton, one of the largest cash crop of the country, through a number of programs, he said adding that development of cotton crop would help in promotion of local industrial sector, particularly textile sector in the country. Speaking on the occasion, Tahir Khurshid, Federal Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research highlighted the importance of the economic gains of cotton crop, through better price of the produce which was possible with the availability of quality seed, better management practices and efficient use of inputs.
He asked the farming communities to share their cost of production estimated in order to enable the ministry to work-out the intervention price recommendations for the next crop. Representing the growers in the meeting, Rabia Sultan from Punjab appreciated the government’s price policy for 2021-22, which was fixed at Rs 5,000/40 kg as intervention price and paved the way for remunerative price received by the cotton growers.
She asked that the cotton vision 2015 needed to be revisited and a new long-term strategy should be devised with the participation of growers. Syed Mumtaz Shah from Sindh shared that the early varieties had proved much better productivity where growers have picked 38-40 mounds of seed cotton. He urged the government to consider up scaling of approved varieties for early sowing, which would bring a huge difference in the overall production.
The Director General API Abdul Karim said the average annual growth rates for area, yield and production remained negative during last many years, which was mainly attributed to the declining growth, both in the Punjab and Sindh. He explained that due to better prices of the produce, returns on overall investment by the cotton growers were significantly better than other competing crops.
Other participants of the meeting stressed the need for ensuring availability of quality inputs, controlled prices, particularly of fertilizers and electricity for agricultural tube wells. The representative APTMA suggested that the problems of contamination of cotton needed to be addressed to ensure better prices for the produce.