Multan – The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) demanded the government on Tuesday to introduce a five-year cotton policy without any further delay to enhance cotton production to 22 million bales and exports to 3 million bales by giving incentives of crop insurance and quality premium for farmers.
Addressing a joint news conference here, Dr Jeso Mal T Leemani, Chairman of PCGA, Haji Muhammad Akram, Shehzad Ali Khan, Suhail Mehmood Haral,Mian Javed Tariq and Ashiq Ali Babar Rehmani pointed out that currently average cotton production stood at 13 million bales and exports 1 million bales. They added that cotton policy should be finalised with the consent of all stake holders and ginners would not let anyone to make a policy at the cost of farmers’ interest.
Dr Jeso Mal said on this occasion that government and private enterprises failed to supply qualitative, well germinated,heat resistant and virus resistant seed to the farmers . “To enhance production, the area sown with cotton crop must be increased to 4.2 million hectares, up 1 million hectares from the current around 3.2 million hectares,” he added. The country will have to strive to achieve a better yarn recovery rate of 90% compared to the existing 85%. Though Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton after China, United States and India, yet it ranks 2nd in terms of contamination in cotton. “Pakistan’s cotton fetches a low price because of contamination and this issue must be addressed in new cotton policy. Farmers producing clean cotton should be offered a premium as an encouragement,” he asserted. He said that a cotton investment fund should also be raised for such schemes and programmes.
Under the five-year programme, he said, the government should be pressed to set aside funds for research and development, capacity-building and infrastructure development. “Cotton exports may go up to 3 million bales on the back of better regulation of the market and encouraging incentives, which must be unveiled in the proposed cotton policy.”
In an attempt to minimise the role of middlemen and ensure direct contact between farmers and buyers, the government, in the first phase, should set up a model cotton trading house, which should work as a hub for sale of cotton. Cotton ginning research and training institute should also be established in Sindh & Punjab.