ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to take measures to achieve the production target of 15 million bales of cotton.
Chairing a meeting here on Monday on the challenges being faced in cotton sector, he emphasised the need for revamping research centres involved in seed registration, besides supporting farmers and assisting them in adopting modern practices.
The prime minister further directed that the existing rules relating to bio-safety assessment of genetically modified crops be reviewed to make them more simple, efficient and time-saving.
Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan and senior officials of the ministry informed Khan that even with the existing seed varieties, production could be enhanced to 15m bales by incentivising farmers and helping them adopt the best practices and modern technologies.
Khan approved the setting up of a working group, headed by Sultan to revamp existing seed registration institutes to bring improvement in their output. It was decided that a working group comprising of private sector seed companies and government sector regulators would also be constituted to simplify seed certification system and find a solution which ensures that farmers are able to sift between the good and bad varieties and companies.
Cotton is Pakistan’s second largest crop, planted on 6.66m acres. Despite being the fourth biggest cotton producer in the world, the country was still importing raw cotton worth $1.2 billion. The meeting discussed various reasons for declining production in the country since 2004-05 and efforts being made for improving seed varieties.
The meeting was also attended by Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam; Punjab Minister for Agriculture Malik Nauman Ahmed Langrial; Secretary National Food Security Dr M. Hashim Popalzai and other officials.
Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018