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Cotton crop failure worries Pakistani govt
27
May '16
The Pakistani government has expressed concern at the huge decline in cotton crop this year which has eroded the country's GDP growth rate for the financial year 2015-16 by 0.5 per cent.

At a high-powered meeting in Islamabad to review the alarming situation, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar urged the agencies concerned to investigate the reasons for declining crop production and draw a comprehensive road map and co-ordinate efforts for achieving higher production in future.

At the meeting, renowned international cotton expert Neil Foster made a detailed presentation on the cotton production potential of Pakistan. According to Foster Pakistan has the potential to achieve a production level of 20 million bales.

Foster listed five major irritants in realizing the potential of cotton production in Pakistan - seed quality, disease, pests, weed and water.

Urging the government to take necessary steps to remove these irritants, Foster advised the government to put in place a regulatory mechanism and legal framework for seed production and dissemination. Increasing yield was key to achieving higher level of production, he added.

The Finance minister on his part assured implementation and early enactment of the Plant Breeders Rights Act and urged the concerned agencies to formulate further amendments in Seed Act in order to encourage the private sector companies.

He directed the Ministry of National Food Security & Research to revitalize the Directorate of Plant Protection to ensure supply of quality pesticides in cotton growing areas.

He also directed Ministry of Climate Change to strengthen the National Bio-safety Committee and its secretariat. The provincial governments were advised to swiftly implement their plans to constitute 'Pink Bollworm Strike' force well in time to ensure plant protection.

The massive shortfall of cotton has forced Pakistani textile mills to import much of its requirements of cotton from various countries, including India. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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