ISLAMABAD: The government is expecting cotton production to surpass 8.46 million bales target in view of an uptrend in the cotton arrivals, country's top agriculture executive said on Monday.
Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) had revised the cotton production target downward by 19 percent from 10.5 million to 8.46 million bales at the start of this month.
Apart from lowest area cultivation, some major biotic constraints including cotton leaf curl virus (CLCuV), mealybug, and whitefly attacks also forced the government to cut the estimates.
“Given the current trends of cotton arrival, it seems the total production of cotton will exceed the previous estimate of 8.46 million bales," said Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, at a meeting with the officials of provincial agriculture departments, and ministry.
"Since the start of picking till mid-September, 159 percent more bales have been transferred from fields to ginners compared to the same period of last year."
Imam said over 2.69 million bales had been transferred to the ginning factories till September 15, compared to 1.04 million bales in same period of last year.
He also noted that this season the cotton was sown over an area of 1.871 million hectares, which was the lowest in the last 20 years, while the government had targeted its cultivation at 2.31 million hectares.
He added that the need of the hour was to ensure vigilant crop management to maintain the positive yield trend.
Imam said to maximise the production, it was imperative that growers focused on clean picking so that quality and higher grades were maintained to fetch better prices in the local market.
He also advised that cotton farmers should carefully choose high yielding cotton varieties for next year and use certified seeds. “The government will be proactive with the provisioning of quality seed to facilitate farmers.”
He emphasised that the provincial governments should carry out proactive extension campaign to advise farmers to properly manage their cotton crop because the coming six weeks were critical to maintain high yields.
Imam said the present government after eight years had set intervention price at Rs5,000/40kg for current season, which encouraged the growers to invest in crop management and harvest higher yields. He said that the government wanted to ensure the concerns of all stakeholders were heard and addressed.
For the last several years, cotton production is on the decline. Due to shortage, the textile sector had to import 5.04 million bales. Last year, the production was around 5.57 million bales.
Pakistan’s cotton sowing season starts from mid-March to mid-July according to core and non-core areas. It must be noted that cotton picking starts from October to mid-January.
Government cotton revival plan also envisages to focus on grading and standardisation of local cotton for promoting local spinning and ginning and harmonising them with the international market for enhancing local exports of garments. Pakistan has also initiated collaboration with China and Korea for technology transfer and research development in the seed sector.
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