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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to revive cotton crop in the country, the government was determined to providing 100 percent certified, pest resistant and climate tolerant high yielding seed varieties to farmers during coming season.

In this regard, Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department has completed testing of 30,000 tons cotton seeds of different varieties.

Initiative was started to fulfil the domestic requirements of certified seed in order to enhance per-acre output of the major cash crop of the country as well as enhancing the farmers’ income for economic growth and social prosperity, said Dr Zahid Director Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC).

Talking to APP here on Tuesday, he said that government was determined to fulfil 100 percent local seed requirements by providing them certified seeds during coming season.

He said the local cotton seeds requirements were estimated at 40,000 tons and out of the total 30,000 tons of seeds had already been screened in federal agency in order to ensure strict compliance of use of certified seed.

The remaining quantity was also available with private sector seed producing companies that would help in strengthening local cotton output, he remarked.

Dr Zahid further informed that cotton growers were also provided training on best practices on farm management, use of high quality seeds, water and pesticides as well as to tackle with the pest issues.

He further informed that in order to ensure 100 percent availability of certified seed and other inputs, the government in collaboration with concerned stakeholders and departments were making efforts to overcome issues of counterfeit seeds and adulterated pesticides in open markets, which was harming the farmers and reduced output.

He further informed that cotton crop sowing in the country during last season (2020-21) was decreased by 1.3 per cent compared to the last year.

It may be recalled that cotton, major cash crop and industrial raw material for the textile sector, was on downwards trajectory due to various issues.

The cotton crop was cultivated on 2.457 million hectares against the target of 2.663 million hectares as 92 percent of the cotton cultivation target was achieved during last season.

The declining trend in cotton growing area was mainly attributed to increase in covered area under competing crops including sugarcane, maize and rice.

Due to the low input cost and less investment in competing crops, besides decreasing pricing trends of cotton in international markets, farmers prefer cultivation of these crops and have shifted their land into other crops.

In order to cope with the prevailing situation and encouraging farmers to grow more cotton, the government had evolved a scheme of incentives that would reduce the input cost of cotton, besides reducing the cost of doing business.

In order to control the pest attack on cotton like white fly and pink ballworm, the government had also provided subsidy on the imports of PB Rope.