ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed changes in the Seed (Amendment) Act 2015 and reconstitution of the Cotton Committee on an urgent basis.
Chairing a high-level meeting to review cotton policy and cultivation of the cash crop in the country, he directed the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the Commerce Division to share proposals on fixing the support price of cotton.
The prime minister said steps for promotion of cotton yield, in consultation with farmers and relevant authorities, were on the cards The meeting discussed share of cotton crop in overall produce of the country and other related matters including import, export and challenges.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Jahangir Tareen, producers and exporters of cotton and members of the Cotton Committee.
The premier noted that cotton crop played an important role in national economy. He expressed concern over the gap between cotton production in different parts of the country and regretted that the area was neglected by previous governments in terms of new seed harvesting, promotion of technology, adaptation of modern farming techniques and financial assistance to farmers.
He noted that apathy towards cotton cultivation not only resulted in gradual decline in production and discouraged farmers but also affected the textile industry and exports.
The prime minister was informed that Chinese expertise on modern agricultural technology would also be used to increase yield of cotton crop. In this regard, a Centre of Excellence is being established in Multan.
The government, under the Prime Minister’s Emergency Programme, is importing technology to save cotton crop from pink bollworm which would be shared with farmers on cheaper price.
A project of cotton farming was being launched in Balochistan in collaboration with a Chinese firm MEC while steps are also being taken to promote cotton production in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020