MULTAN: Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Chairman Dr Jassu Mal said that it was very dangerous for the national economy that cotton production has fallen to 5.5 million from 15 million bales.
He was exclusively talking to Customs Today on other day. Dr. Jassu Mal said that it is a fact that mere lip service can’t serve the purpose. He said that cotton economy was portraying a gloomy picture in the year 2020-21 and called for announcement of cotton support price besides a detailed analysis supported by a fresh attempt to bring cotton economy back on track.
He said that government announced no incentives package for farmers, no investment on research, no allocation for evolving new disease and heat resistant varieties and no policy was framed to ensure good quality seed and bringing maximum area under cotton crops besides taking measures for increasing per acre yield.
PCGA chairman said that jobs of millions of people are attached with cotton related industry. Pakistan has slipped from third to sixth position with regard to cotton production while average of per acre production was below 10 Maunds, said PCGA chairman .
He claimed that while the climate change affected production by 2-3 percent up or down in rest of the world, in Pakistan the whole burden of the cotton downslide was being put on the climate change.
He said that after having witnessed successive years of loss, the farmers in Pakistan have shifted to other profitable options and reduced cotton area by around 26 percent.
The chairman said the dismal performance of cotton 2020 has put every stakeholder under mental stress including farmers, ginners and textile millers.
He complained: “We may be ready to bear high cost on import of cotton worth billions but may not be taking the issue of quality and genuine seed, pesticides and fertilizers with the seriousness it deserves.”He said “cost on an acre of cotton has risen to Rs 80,000 which was only 50,000 in a neighbouring country where per acre production was far higher than us.”
Dr Jassu Mal said that urgent steps were required to bring cotton economy from the stress it was experiencing these days.
He said the whole private sector including PCGA would support the government in its initiatives to rebuilding the cotton economy, adding that increase in cotton production would put new life in the 20 allied industries and provide means of earning to people.
He demanded that government should immediately announce support price of cotton to win back those farmers who had shifted to other crops and attract more new entrants to cotton cultivation. He said that a special relief package be announced and village level training/guidance program be initiated.
The chairman said that a long term policy be devised after consulting all stakeholders. He demanded that availability of certified and registered seed be ensured besides quality fertilizers and pesticides. He said that prices of pesticides should also be fixed to save farmers from the highhandedness of pesticide dealers and retailers.
He stressed that research institutions and agriculture department should launch a spirited effort to solve all problems confronting cotton farmers.