Govt plans cluster villages to modernise cotton farming: minister
MULTAN: The government will soon launch cotton cluster villages to promote the crop by ensuring modern technology in the near future, a senior government official said.
Holding a press conference at the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI), Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said that cotton is a highly profit-generating crop, as it strengthens the country’s economy and also offers job opportunities to millions of people in the country.
Imam said that one million bales helped generate Rs97.5 billion. The government has set a target of 10 million bales during the ongoing season, he added.
The cotton cluster villages comprised of two to four union councils and would be introduced in different areas, he said, adding that modernised farming techniques would be introduced in these cluster villages with an objective to motivate other farmers.
Besides, the government was paying immense focus on white gold (cotton) and hopefully cotton would be a strategic crop in the future, the minister said, adding that the country used to export textile products worth over 15 billion dollars annually.
Last year, the country has to import 4.5 million bales of cotton for the local industry, Imam said, adding that the government was striving hard to enhance cotton production.
Special focus is being given on seed quality, enhancing sowing area, mechanisation, and upgradation of research institutes, he said.
About the current cotton prices, the minister said the government had introduced an intervention price of Rs5,000/40kg to facilitate the farmers.
He; however, said the prices of cotton were also high in the international market. Imam suggested farmers to ensure clean picking of cotton so that they could find handsome prices against their produce.
To a question about the factors for the decline in cotton, he said climate change and pest attacks were the main reasons for the decline in cotton production, adding that the present condition of the crop was satisfactory.
Imam said that the government would also promote quality seed having immense resistance against climate changes and pest attacks.
He also hinted that ginners would be convinced to modernise their ginning units as per the international standards.
About wheat, Imam said that the country received historic production of 27.5 million tonnes, which was a record. However, the government was importing wheat to maintain stocks in abundance.
About scientists’ issues at the CCRI, the minister promised to resolve their issues at the earliest.
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