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Pakistan's Punjab targets cotton output of 9.5mn bales
20
Jun '16
Despite falling acreage, the government in Pakistan's Punjab province has fixed a cotton production target at 9.5 million bales for 2016/17.

Addressing the media after the second meeting of the Cotton Crop Management Group (CCMG) at the Central Cotton Research Institute in Multan on Thursday, Additional Secretary Agriculture Hussain Sardar said that all resources would be used to achieve the target. He said that the cotton seed reform project had been initiated to curb the cotton crisis and that the Punjab government had approved to set up the Punjab Agriculture Commission.

Punjab contributes 75 per cent of Pakistan's cotton production which fell about 30 per cent in 2015-16 due to a host of factors including rain, floods and pest attacks.

Hussain Sardar said that the government had allocated Rs 1.8 billion in the budget to provide the most modern machinery to the farmers to increase per acre yield. A chain of service centres would be established across the province to provide agriculture equipment, including tractors, harvesters and bulldozers, he added.

The Punjab Agriculture Department had expected sowing on 5.7 million acres with the production target of 9.5 million bales for the 2016-17 but till the first week of this month, it was sown on mere 3.5 million acres and the favourable cultivation time is virtually over.

Punjab Director General Agriculture (Extension) Dr Anjum Ali said that at least 822,799 cotton farmers had been imparted modern cultivation training. He said that statistics showed that 84 per cent cotton area had been cultivated, which was 14 per cent less than the last year.
But the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has said that official figures of 84 per cent cotton sowing are exaggerated and fictitious.

At a press conference in Multan, PCGA chairman Shahzad Ali Khan, vice-chairman Sarfraz Nazim Awan and former chairmen Haji Muhammad Akram and Suhail Mehmood Harral said that the federal and provincial governments had failed to convince the farmers to increase cotton acreage. They claimed that cotton was cultivated on 50 per cent less area this season as compared to last year. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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