PESTICIDES are mostly imported by Pakistan. These are brought in large containers and are commercially re-packed in the country. During this process, these are adulterated with sub-standard materials to increase the volume which ultimately affects the quality.
These pesticides are vital for crop protection against pests and diseases, and are meant to increase the yield and profit of the farmers. There are a few crops that are highly dependent on pesticides, like cotton, which requires several rounds of spray.
With adulterated pesticides being provided to the farmers, they lose a large chunk of their yield. This is a major issue in the cotton belts of Punjab and Sindh.
Unfortunately, the relevant authorities have failed to control the problem, and the result is obvious in the shape of decreased cotton cultivation. Not too long ago, Pakistan was an exporter of raw cotton, but now produces cotton just enough to meet at best 20 per cent of its own requirement.
The failure to control pesticide adulteration has destroyed the cotton crop. The result is the loss of a lot of foreign exchange which is used to import raw cotton in order to keep the textile industry running.
The price of imported raw cotton is higher than local cotton which ultimately increases the prices of the finished textile products. In turn, these relatively costly products are unable to compete in the global textile market.
The government must think over these issues in the greater national interest.
Tariq Mahmood Khan
Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021