Ahsan Iqbal directs development of Quick Response System for cotton farmers

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ISLAMABAD, Jul 26 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning , Development  and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday directed the concerned authorities to establish a quick response system to help farmers dealing with the cotton crop-related diseases.

Ahsan said that “cotton is the mainstay of our agriculture and textile  Industry and has a vital role in increasing economic growth and development”.

He said that drop in the per acre yield of cotton is a matter of  serious concern.

The Minister said that agriculture sector had been facing many  challenges due to climate change and crash of agricultural commodities prices in international markets.

We have to focus on increasing productivity and lowering cost of inputs.

The Minister expressed these views while chairing a high level meeting  to review cotton crisis in Pakistan here in the Ministry of Planning , Development and Reforms today.

The meeting was also attended by Federal and Provincial agriculture  and textile officials , agriculture experts, researchers and farmers .

Ahsan Iqbal said that government was making an all-out effort to  uplift the agriculture sector and address the problems of the farming community.

The government has offered incentives in budget for agriculture sector  by decreasing prices of inputs and waived off GST on many agriculture related items, in order to make them cheaper to the farmers, he added.

He further highlighted that farmers were facing tough conditions in  many countries because of the crash of international commodity prices.

Minister said that if cotton crop had not been affected the economy  would have grown by 5.5 percent.

The country achieved 4.7 pc growth rate that was highest in eight  years but marred by problems in the agriculture sector , he added.

The Planning Minister stressed the need for reforming research in  agriculture sector to produce high quality seeds for increase in agriculture productivity.

He said that under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) local  farming community should get benefit from the Chinese expertise through exchange of knowledge and research in agriculture sector.

Ahsan Iqbal urged all stakeholders to work closely in wake of
devolution to coordinate their efforts.

He said the working group will meet on quarterly basis to review  implementation of group’s recommendations.