Meeting reviews causes for shortfall in cotton production

ISLAMABAD, May 26 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator
Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Thursday expressed concern that
shortfall in cotton crop this year has eroded GDP growth rate for the year by 0.5%.

He stated this while chairing a meeting which reviewed
the reasons for shortfall in cotton production and also devised short and medium term plans for increasing production.

The minister on the occasion urged the relevant government
organizations to investigate reasons for shortfall in production of cotton and to coordinate efforts for a comprehensive roadmap for achieving higher cotton production in future, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance here today.

Known International Expert Neil Foster made a detailed
presentation on the cotton production potential of Pakistan.
He was of the view that Pakistan has potential to
achieve production level of 20 million bales.

He highlighted five major irritants in realizing the
potential of cotton production in Pakistan.

These, he said include quality of seed, disease, pests,
weed and water.
He urged the Government to take necessary steps to
remove these irritants and put in place regulatory mechanism and legal framework for seed production and dissemination. Increasing yield was key to achieve higher level of production.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the occasion advised all
concerned to ensure implementation and early enactment of Plant Breeders Rights Act and formulate further amendments in Seed Act to encourage private sector to enter the industry.

He also directed Ministry of National Food Security and
Research to revitalize the Directorate of Plant Protection to ensure supply of quality pesticides in the cotton growing areas.

He also directed Ministry of Climate Change to
strengthen the National Bio safety Committee and its secretariat.

The Provincial Governments were advised to swiftly
implement their plans to constitute Pink Bollworm Strike force well in time to ensure plant protection.

The meeting was attended by Secretaries of Ministries of
Finance, Climate Change, Textile Industry, Commerce,
Industries & Production, National Food Security and Research. In addition, the high officials of Agriculture Departments, Government of Punjab and Sindh and Experts from private sectors participated.