FAISALABAD: Cotton production has shrunk by more than 60 percent from 14.81 million bales to 5.65 million bales in 2020/21 season during a decade, resulting in considerable loss to Pakistan's textile sector and economy, Pakistan position in cotton production has shifted from fourth to fifth in cotton producing countries of the world, said Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
Addressing a webinar held to mark world cotton day, he said that cotton which was once considered the lifeline of the country farmers and a source of raw material to textile companies, has hit all-time low in production.
He said that poor pest management, shift in cotton area to other crops, climate variability, early sowing, poor quality Bt cotton seed, traditional methods of spraying and gap between farmers and extension staff have been realized as the possible reasons behind cotton yield reduction despite the introduction of genetically modified varieties.
A plan to revive cotton production has been developed by UAF to improve pest management. Combination of whitefly control strategy and updating the curriculum of universities in connection with current agricultural issues faced by farming community may provide sustainable cotton production in Pakistan.
He said that UAF was pleased to play our part in sustainable cotton production that has a great potential to eradicate poverty and improve the lives of small scale farmers especially women and children. Recognizing the global importance, we are supporting to world cotton day through research, development and innovations initiatives.
He said that due to government interventions, 8.46 million bales of cotton production was likely to hit during the current season. He said that cotton production in the province is expected to touch 4.5m bales with an increase of 8.5 per cent from last year.
He said that year 2020 witnessed 398.6 mm rainfall which cussed devastating impact whereas this year the rainfall was 78.6 mm which has improved the prospect of overall production.
He said that the government has set an intervention price of Rs 5000 per 40kg, which encouraged the grower to invest in crop management.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021