Significance of cotton, ways to boost export discussed.
BAHAWALPUR -- Speakers at a national cotton seminar on Friday expressed concern over the shortfall in production in the country and stressed the need for comprehensive planning with the help of modern technology to increase the per acre cotton yield leading to achievement of the target of 12 million bales annually.
The seminar on 'Sustainable Cotton Production under Changing Climate' was organised by Pakistan Crop Protection Association (PCPA) in collaboration with the Islamia University (IUB)'s department of plant breeding and genetics at the Baghdadul Jadid campus.
IUB Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Amir Ijaz opened the seminar that was chaired by MNA and Kashmir Committee Chairman Fakhar Imam. The seminar was largely participated by agricultural experts.
In his opening remarks, VC Ijaz said that not only the country's economy and industry, but also freedom, self-reliance mainly depended on agriculture, which was presently affected by global warming.
MNA Imam, in his presidential address, underlined the need for research in universities. He defined the pivotal role of cotton in the agriculture sector and regretted that in the '90s annual cotton production in Pakistan stood at 12 million bales, which should have now reached 20 million. He further added that the export of cotton was $11 billion, while it had the potential to reach $60 billion.
Presently, he said, even 16 million bales of cotton were not available to fulfil the demand and Pakistan had to import four to five million bales. There was an urgent need to increase per acre yield, promote textile industry and increase exports, he suggested.
PCPA Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Arif lamented that the farmers used fertilisers for 33 years but they were not properly guided about it.
Prof Dr Asif Ali, vice chancellor of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture Multan, observed that cotton was not just essential for the textile industry, but also for edible oils -- for which cotton was the second most important source. The seminar was also addressed by a number of cotton experts.