The government of Pakistan has committed to enhance cotton output of the country by introducing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, in order to attain production of 21 million cotton bales by the year 2015 and augment yield per hectare to 1,060 kg.
This was articulated in a meeting held between the American Seed Company, 'Monsanto', Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MINFA), Ministry of Textile and other officials. Introduction of standard varieties of Bt cotton in the country is very important to produce 21 million cotton bales as cotton production is dealing with a number of challenges, at present.
The cotton farming sector is facing non availability of quality seeds, hurdles in accessing essential inputs, less cultivation area, whitefly (vector of the CLCV) and Jassid, improper water supply, attack of mealy bug, unavailability of resistant gernplasm as well as lack of technology transfer of Bt. In addition to this, all unapproved Bt cotton were susceptible to CLCV.
The meeting was informed that in the year 2002, Bt cotton was illegally introduced in the country and currently it covers around 80 percent cultivation area. The unapproved Bt cotton varieties were produced in violation of international and national rules and regulations.
Around 10 varieties of Bt Cotton are being tested and are likely to be approved and applied soon in the country.
Cotton's share in the gross domestic product is about 2 percent, and its cultivation area is around 3 million hectares, while the average cotton yield is 769 kg per ha much less than other countries such as Australia, Syria, Mexico, Turkey and China. Around 15 million cotton bales are consumed in the country; but its production is erratic.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India