The Meeting of the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee was held on 1st September 2021, under the Chair Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R).
Representatives of cotton growers, provincial agriculture departments, associations, and senior officials of the NFS&R also attended the meeting. The Minister welcomed the participants and thanked for their participation, and invited them all to share their feedback and recommendations for the development of the cotton crop in Pakistan.
Fakhar Imam was told that the province of Sindh expects production of 3.5 million bales in this season. He was briefed that the climate in this season has been much better than the last season, and due to less rainfall, overall production is expected to increase. The production of cotton in Punjab is expected to touch 4.5 million bales at an increase 0f approximately 8.5 percent from last year. Overall, cotton production is expected to reach 8.46 million bales.
Minister was briefed that 2020 saw 398.6mm rainfall, which had a devastating impact on production, whereas this year, the rainfall was 78.6mm, which has improved the prospect of overall production. Furthermore, he was told that the attack of Mealybug and Whitefly and CLCuV remained significant, which has adversely affected the production of cotton.
Fakhar said that awareness amongst farmers must be raised regarding contamination control. He said that through proper chemical sprays, the quality and quantity of cotton production can be enhanced. Minister said that the government would be proactive with the provision of quality seed to facilitate farmers.
Minister said that the present government after eight years set an intervention price of Rs. 5000 per 40kg, which encouraged the grower to invest in crop management and harvest high yields. Growers from Sindh and Punjab also praised this act of the government and requested to replicate the same in sugarcane and wheat.
Fakhar Imam said that the Government had performed exceptionally well in the last season as Pakistan had the highest production in the top 5 crops, including wheat, with a record production of 27.5 million tonnes. Minister said that the government aims to transform cotton production as well. He said that the PTI government is supporting the cotton grower in every capacity.
Minister shared that there is a need for a paradigm shift in the yield of this crop as it is one of the major factors of production in our industry. Minister said that smallholders would only be able to grow wheat if quality inputs are timely available and in the range of farmer’s access.
Federal Minister stressed establishing linkages between the scientists and farmers, mainly to minimize the gap between the results of research farms with that of the actual field. Fakhar Imam said that the government wishes to ensure that the concerns of all stakeholders are heard and addressed.