The government would provide subsidised seed for cotton growers to revive and enhance production of the major crop of Pakistan, revealed Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam.

Speaking at a seminar organised to discuss the issues and challenges faced by the cotton farmers and the measures being taken to enhance productivity for economic development of the country, Imam highlighted that cotton was one of the most important crops in the country, which contributed around 19.03% to the gross domestic product (GDP).

He stressed the need for crop zoning in an effort to stop farmers from switching to other crops, which would be beneficial for development of the agriculture sector and economic growth of the country.

Read: Exporters seek duty-free import of cotton yarn

The minister was of the view that the declining output of cotton for the past many years was a matter of concern that required serious attention to arrest the decline and spur the country’s economic growth.

Shedding light on the challenges, Imam said unavailability of high-yielding, certified hybrid seed varieties was the main hurdle in the way of increasing output, besides provision of pesticides to control pest attacks, which every year destroyed standing crops over millions of acres.

He emphasised that the increase in cotton harvest was vital for achieving economic growth and social prosperity. “To tap the crop’s true potential, the use of hybrid varieties is a must.” The minister underlined the need for revamping seed production technologies to enhance per-acre crop output and maximise the income of farmers. It would also enable the country to compete in international markets as well as meet raw material needs of the industry, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2021.

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