Cotton crop important for stability of country’s economy: Governor Punjab

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.Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman said that after obtaining 1 crore 44 lakh bales of cotton production in the last decade, the gradual decline in cotton production by almost three times is a huge loss for the national economy, which can be improved by high quality Seed supply. He said that the announcement by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to fix the support price of cotton at 8500 rupees per maund before sowing is commendable, which will encourage cotton farmers to cultivate cotton on maximum area. He expressed these views while addressing the meeting of Cotton Seed Committee at Governor House Lahore, here today.

Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman said that cotton crop plays a central role in the stability of the country’s economy by providing raw material to the textile industry and earning the highest foreign exchange. He said that after producing 1 crore 44 million bales of cotton in the last decade, the decline in cotton production is a major concern, which needs to be improved by joint efforts of all stakeholders. Governor Punjab said that all efforts will be made to solve the problems of seed industry to ensure quality production of cotton in the country. He emphasized on integrating the research on seeds of modern technology with the collaboration of the public and private sectors. He said that the concerted efforts of government, agricultural, research institutions, Department of Agriculture, agricultural universities and private institutions to solve seed problems will yield results. He added that suggestions for improvement will be sent to the government soon. He said a letter has been sent to the Chief Minister Punjab to convene the meeting of the Seed Council within a week to take important decisions for facilitating cotton farmers. Governor Punjab while expressing his concern on the non-payment of cotton CESS by APTMA said that it is affecting cotton research institutes.

Earlier, Dr. Khalid Hameed, Convener of the Cotton Seed Committee, while presenting recommendations on behalf of the committee said that the complicated and long-term rules and regulations be made easier for early approval of modern technology seeds. He also emphasized adoption of GMO seeds at the national level. The other recommendations included: early interim approval to new varieties on the authenticity of the label, facilitation of the acquisition of research materials from research institutes of developed countries by domestic companies, research laboratories of modern technology seeds at the local level, providing interest-free loans for setting up processing plants and modern storage, convening joint meetings of Provincial Seed Councils and VEC for early approval of new seed varieties, controlling sub standard, fake and unapproved varieties of seeds by strictly implementing the Seed Act, 2016. The recommendations also included incentives to farmers for reasonable cash reward to cotton breeders for new varieties that produce excellent yields for three years.

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