KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan and President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain has said the government should assign some areas for cotton growing only to boost the cotton economy as farmers are switching to other crops.
The demand by the growers to increase cotton intervention price should also be reviewed, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that cotton growers were switching to sugarcane and other crops for years therefore the government should lure them towards cotton through benefits and slap a ban on cultivation of any other crop in areas allotted for cotton.
He said that many growers have also switched to rice and now they are preferring hybrid rice over any other crop as its per acre output is almost three times higher than basmati and it fetches almost double money. Now the area under cultivation of rice has increased from 4.7 million acres to 5.5 million acres while it requires three months to ripe.
He informed that per acre yield of Basmati is almost 35 to 40 maund while the output of hybrid rice is around 150 maund. Planters get Rs70,000 to Rs80,000 for planting Basmati on an acre but the hybrid rice fetches them Rs140,000 to Rs160,000.
For this reason, the area under cultivation of Basmati in Punjab has reduced by 15 percent and its exports have reduced from $800 million to $650 million.
Total rice exports have dropped from $2.2 billion to $2.04 billion, he said, adding that last year Indian rice exports suffered due to coronavirus disruption but now it is ready to face Pakistan in the international market therefore the government should take all the stakeholders into the confidence to improve the situation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021