ISLAMABAD, – FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel, Secretary General-Federal, Ahmad Jawad said cotton is a major cash crop of the country and can contribute significantly in the economic progress as well as agriculture sector development and prosperity of farming community.The cotton under cultivation area and production declined significantly, as growers shifted from cotton to sugarcane and maize so its output slashed from 15 million bales to 8 million bales. In totality, this has caused losses to the tune of $36 billion over the last one decade.
While production of cotton in India, Brazil, USA and other countries have increased manifold but it was on decline in Pakistan. Because of importing cotton from abroad, the cost of the textile sector increased by 6 percent so this sector became uncompetitive compared to other countries.
“Substandard seeds and pesticides may hit the agriculture sector this year as well; cotton crop is one of the novel example in this regard,”
It noted this was the second consecutive year that cotton growers seemed worried, as substandard seeds had again flooded local markets, especially in Sindh
The government to offer special tariff concessions and give policy on the import of quality and viable seeds which may suitable to our soil conditions especially for cotton crop until the PARC and the NARC becomes self-sufficient in the production of seeds.
Jawad also said that there was a need to take concrete action against fake seeds and pesticides because without improved quality of input the per acre yield could not be increased.
He lambasted the policies of different governments and stated that the growers were forced to think why they should grow cotton. He said that Parliament passed a resolution to fix the support price of cotton but there was no attention from the government side.
Pakistan imported lint worth $9 billion, lost lint production worth $8.3 billion, faced losses of above 35 percent of cotton production value chain and losses accumulated due to loss in seed, feed meal. About oil and others in totality, Pakistan faced losses of $36 billion because of reduced production in the last one decade.
Though the area of cotton under cultivation was standing at 3.4 million hectares, which was now reduced to 2.3 million hectares so over one million area of cultivation decreased in the country.
He said we would have to focus on manufacturing because we had turned ourselves into trading nation at the moment. He said that the self-reliance based on truth and accountability should be our objectives for all spheres of lives.
Jawad also urged the government to facilitate and incentivise cotton growers and bring back to the market those growers who had opted for other profitable alternatives.