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Govt gets proactive on expanding cotton production
25
Jun '08
The Government of Pakistan has finally taken upon itself the responsibility of ensuring that cotton production in the country meets the domestic demand which has been growing steadily for the past couple of years.

Keeping in line with this, the Government has signed a letter of interest with American company Monsanto for supplying BT cotton seeds especially suitable for cultivation in Pakistan. This would ensure that certified, well-germinated and quality seed is available in the domestic market in the next 12 to 18 months.

The country was facing a shortage of cotton due to low production for the past three years and this nearly crippled the textile industry in turn impacting Pakistan's economy. While local consumption increased from 16 to 17 million bales, annual production of cotton was still lingering around 13 million bales.

However, with the adoption of these news seeds which are virus, heat and disease resistant, cotton production is expected to increase by as much as 50 percent in a short period of time. Besides, the research and development program would also be extended for another year while the mechanism of clean cotton program (CCP) and premium pricing would be given to the farmers directly under the revised plan.

The Ministry of Textiles has also recommended the Central Government to raise the funds for research and development from 3 to 5 percent. Additionally, plan for establishment of new textile and industrial units in the country to alleviate the problem of unemployment is also underway. Moreover, suggestions for upgradation and modernization of textile sector will also be welcomed by the Government.

Government officials also decided upon setting up of a cotton ginning and training institute in Multan which was being postponed for a long time but will now be given top priority.
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