Chinese seeds to enhance cotton crop yield, says food minister

Published June 28, 2020
Harsh weather, locust attacks and water shortages have affected cotton crop production which has seen a decline over past few years.—File photo
Harsh weather, locust attacks and water shortages have affected cotton crop production which has seen a decline over past few years.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: Technological advancement is imperative in order to increase per acre cotton yield in the country, Minister for National Food Sec­urity and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said on Saturday.

Talking to a delegation of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), Imam said that his ministry was working on transfer of Chinese seed technology for enhancing crop yield, besides securing funds to reduce cost to make cotton production a profitable business.

The PCGA delegation, led by chairman Sohail Javed, apprised the minister about issues and challenges faced by the local cotton sector and said the declining production was affecting ginning the most.

They added that other issues like piled-up tax refunds, slower buying of cotton by All Pakistan Textile Manufacturers Association, and liquidity crisis hampering the ginning sector adversely during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Imam said the ministry would take up the taxation issue with the Finance Division and leave no stone unturned to get relief for the ginning sector.

NA informed Plant Breeders Act not being implemented properly

He also asked PCGA to send a set of proposals for modernising the ginning sector and upgrade technology to improve the quality of lint produced in Pakistan.

The delegation informed that over 1,300 ginning factories are installed across the cotton belt and these have the ability to gin 14 million bales but due to short production for a few years, only 800 were in operation last year.

It’s a seasonal business and that’s why most of the ginning factories also have oil extraction units to utilise the cottonseed — a byproduct — and convert into oil and cottonseed cake.

Meanwhile, speaking during the National Assembly session, the minister said the Seed Act and Plant Breeders Act have become laws a couple of years ago but were still not being implemented properly.

Pakistan is lagging behind in research which is also resulting in low cotton output, he regretted.

Imam stated that universities and research departments should be groomed and advanced technology be applied for the benefit of agriculture.

The minister said there is no doubt that Pakistan is an agro-based country but we have not focused on it as we should have over the years.

Roughly 24m hectares of area is under cultivation of our total agriculture land.

“We should have grown between 35m and 40m tonnes of wheat now. The country is importing the crop as we are lagging behind our needs. Even after almost ten years, our price is less than the international market,” he said.

About the drawbacks in tackling the desert locust crisis, he explained that pace of the operation was slow due to non-availability of micron sprayers. Now the Food and Agriculture Organisation and Department for International Development have supplied twenty of those, which would help boost the operation.

Similarly, the plant protection department was facing a shortage of trained manpower to handle the anti-locust operation at large scale. “At present we have only thirty experts whereas 300 are required to carry it out,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2020

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Moral visions

Moral visions

In Pakistan’s current space-time configuration, the language of politics has changed dramatically.

Editorial

Prime minister’s challenge
04 Mar, 2024

Prime minister’s challenge

THE new prime minister has taken the wheel. He must steer Pakistan to calmer waters at the earliest possible....
Close to midnight
04 Mar, 2024

Close to midnight

THE Ukraine war has entered its third year, with no signs of a peaceful resolution. If anything, the principal...
Losing history
04 Mar, 2024

Losing history

WHILE we have history strewn all over, the debate around pro-preservation development is not loud enough. Last week,...
Little respite
03 Mar, 2024

Little respite

IS inflation on its way out? The Consumer Price Index showed that inflation dropped to 23.1pc in February from ...
More slaughter
Updated 03 Mar, 2024

More slaughter

Israel’s extremist leaders are on an apocalyptic mission to ethnically cleanse Gaza.
Without VCs
03 Mar, 2024

Without VCs

THE delay in appointing vice chancellors across Pakistan’s universities has mushroomed into a crisis, with one...