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ISLAMABAD: The sowing of cotton has registered a significant increase this year in South Punjab as compared to last year due to the incentives of Punjab government, said an official of Punjab Agriculture Department.

Talking to APP, he said it was heartening to note that the farmers were taking keen interest in sowing cotton this year as compared to last year. “Reports of cotton crop sowing were pouring in from the Southern Punjab, right from the first week of April which were according to the expectation of the government, the official said. He said crop of cotton was mostly being sown in Bahawalpur, Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan Khanewal, Layyah, Sahiwal districts. Mahar Mahboob, a farmer from Layyah, told APP that he has preferred to sow cotton in fields this year rather than other crops adding that present government was taking initiatives for the farmers.

Replying to a question, he said that cotton was a cash crop as the government was giving different initiatives to the farmers. He said that farmers were taking more interest in sowing the cotton as compared to last years in the southern Punjab. It is also pertinent to mention here that the Federal Committee on Agriculture has fixed white lint production target for the country at 10.5 million bales from an area of 2.33m hectares for the 2021-2022 season, almost double over the previous year. Punjab is to sow the crop on 1.6m hectares of land to produce 6.07m bales. The agriculture department has issued a schedule for sowing of registered cotton varieties and advised the growers to complete sowing of registered Bt cotton varieties between April 1 and May 31. The Bt cotton varieties recommended by the department include IUB-13, MNH-886, BS-15, Niab-878, and FH-142. Growers have been asked to consult local experts if they plan to sow other registered Bt cotton varieties keeping in view the environment of their district to get better production.