300 cotton growers trained to boost yield

ISLAMABAD:Central Cotton Research Institute had trained about 300 cotton growers on use of best crop management practices for achieving higher per-acre output during the coming season.

In this regard, Central Cotton Research Institute in collaboration with Kashtkar Foundation had organised a day long workshop, which was attended by a large number of farmers, scientists and exporters.

The theme of training workshop was ” Revival of Cotton, Climate Change Position and Action Plan for the Eradication of Pinkbalworm,”.

The experts make deliberations on declining cotton crop, issues and challenges faced the cotton growers across crop producing areas in the country and suggested measures for the revival of major cash crop of the country for sustainable economic growth.

They urged the need for adopting scientific based, innovative techniques to avoid pest attacks to attain higher crop output, besides enhancing farm income.

Giving the details of the training workshop, Director Central Cotton Research Institute Dr Zahid told reporter that local output of major crop was on declining and aim of the initiative was to take measures for the revival and restoration of cotton crop in the country.

He said that the farmers were trained on land preparations, use of fertilizers and pesticides, besides other innovative technologies to enhance per-acre crop production.

Besides, they were also apprised about the cotton varieties, their output potential and pest attacks including white fly and pink bollwarm on the crop, he said adding that they were trained to tackle with the situation to avoid crop losses.

Dr Zahid further informed that the scope of training workshops would be extended to other areas as virtual meetings during COVID-19 pandemic had been organized to tackle with the emerging challenges faced the cotton crop and to revive it.

The government was working on war footings to revive cotton production in the country and in this regard measures have been taken to overcome the issue of certified seed and eradication of pink bollwarm, he remarked.

The government, he said was determined to provide 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 of different varieties, he said adding that it would be provided to farmers for cultivation.

Initiative could help to fulfill 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, Dr Zahid added.

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 by the 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 and examined duly that would help in strengthening local cotton output, he remarked.

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.

It may be recalled here 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 here 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.

The government was also working to ensure 100 percent availability of high yielding, pest resistant seeds to enhance per-acre crop output.