ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has stopped the procurement of cotton over non-transfer of benefits to the cotton growers.
A well-placed source at the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) told Customs Today that the prices of cotton remained under pressure during the first half of the current fiscal year 2014-15, causing a lot of distress to the cotton farmers.
“Average price of seed cotton (phutti) for the current crop season (2014) fell below Rs 3,000 per 40kg during August and on word, consequently, the ECC approved government price invention and authorized Trading Corporation of Pakistan to procure one million bales of cotton lint at price equivalent to Rs. 3000 per 40kg of seed cotton,” the source observed, adding that TCP started procurement of cotton but the process was halted when ECC felt the benefit of price intervention is not transferring to cotton growers.
The source said that MoC was keeping an eye on the situation and would recommend appropriate measures to stabilise cotton prices in future. “Central Cotton Research Institutes (CCRI)” at Multan and Sakrand are prime cotton Research and Development (R&D) institutes of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC),” the source said while elaborating the bids made by government to promote research work on national cash crop cotton, saying that CCRI, Multan was being upgraded as “Centre of excellence” with the coordination for OIC cotton growing countries and Federal Government developed infrastructure.
The source named eight “Cotton Research Stations (CRS)” working in different ecological zones for area specific of cotton research including Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, Ghotki, Mirpurkhas, Sibbi, Lasbella and D I Khan to further improve cotton productivity in these regions as well. The source said that PCCC and concerned ministry had taken appropriate steps to maximize cotton production in the country through horizontal and vertical growth including conducting farmers training programs to influence cotton growers to bring more area under cotton right before the sowing of cotton starts.
“Efforts are being made to maximize area under cotton in Gomal Zam command area in D I Khan (KP), to facilitate cotton cultivation in Baluchistan, a new research station has been set up in Lasbela with collaboration of Lasbela University of Agriculture water and Marine Sciences,” the source added, saying that field staff of Agriculture Department of KP and Balochistan were trained at Multan and Faisalabad in cotton production technology.
The source said that promising varieties, tolerant to Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) developed by PCCC and other public and private research system were being tested for release to enhance cotton production as CLCV was the largest hindrance to cotton maximization. The source observed that all efforts had been undertaken by the government to ensure sufficient and timely availability of quality inputs (agricultural credit, irrigation water, fertilizers, seeds, weedicides, pesticides etc.) to ensure high level of cotton production.
“Cotton Leaf Curl Virus issue is being addressed through a ‘Pak-US Cotton Productivity Enhancement Programme’ with objective to strengthen national cotton R&D system especially for the development of virus resistant varieties,” the source said, adding that Public and Private Sector R&D organizations were provided with germplasm to facilitated them to develop high yielding cotton varieties.