ISLAMABAD: Textile industry has evolved a comprehensive strategy to increase cotton-based textile exports in the next five years.

The proposed new measures include formulation of a new policy as well as restructuring of institutions dealing with cotton to promote availability of better cotton for the value-added sector in the textile value chain.

Currently, there is a strong fibre base of 13 million bales of cotton in Pakistan which is almost stagnant for the past few years.

Cotton and administrative control of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) was given to the textile industry in 2011 after devolution of the ministry of food and agriculture.

Official documents show that the ministry of textile industry has already started work on the first Ginning Institute of Pakistan in Multan and is actively pursuing implementation of Cotton Standards Act with the help of provincial governments.

At the same time, it was proposed to restructure the PCCC to strengthen their research activities.

Focus will be on increasing per hectre yield, reducing risk of cotton curl-leave virus and introducing longer staple length varieties.

Organisation rules will be amended to extend incentives to the employees on the basis of performance and output.

The ministry also pointed out that Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute (PCSI) was in a state of disarray after Cotton Standardisation Fee (CSF) was suspended in 2007. As a result, the ministry has revived the CSF to ensure its survival.

The PCSI has been shifted to new premises and its capacity and equipment will be strengthened through export development funding.

According to the documents, the ministry will set up Model Cotton Trading Houses in Multan and Sakrand, in collaboration with the PCCC, to facilitate farmers, ginners and other stakeholders. This will also help encourage standardisation and brand development.

On the policy side, the ministry of textile Industry will pursue enactment of Plant Breeders Right Act as well as amendment in Seed Act and Quarantine to facilitate research, attract new technologies and increase availability of certified quality seed.

To improve standardisation of cotton and ginning sector, implementation of Cotton Control Act is imperative. In addition, cotton standardisation and clean cotton with reduced contamination levels will be facilitated through upgradation of ginning machinery, for which the ginning sector has already been included in the long-term finance facility (LTFF) of the central bank.

The government will pursue better cotton initiative which was introduced in Pakistan by WWF-Pakistan and funded by the EU.

The BCI aims to promote measurable improvements in environmental and social impact of cotton cultivation on land, climate, environment and people.

Pakistan will pursue this programme and necessary funds will be arranged for continuation and expansion of current programme through foreign donor agencies and Export Development Surcharge.

According to the document, the government will take measures to introduce extra Long Staple Cotton in the country. In this regard, a comprehensive training and capacity building programme would be developed to establish a system in the private sector for grading and classifying cotton, ensuring that proper premiums are paid on cotton based on grading and classification.

Cotton hedge trading for the domestic cotton will also be initiated in consultation with stakeholders.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2015

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