“Weather conditions are appropriate this year. The government has announced the fixed lowest price of Rs5,000 or more per maund. If the price falls from the fixed price, then the government will intervene and purchase the cotton. Next year or maybe this year, we are expecting the revival of cotton.” he said.
The institute is also collaborating with China in the training of scientists and improving biotechnology labs for the transfer of gene technology, he added.
Mehmood suggested that radio stations be installed for the cotton growers to provide information and guidelines to them regarding new trends and challenges to the crop.
More than 40% of Pakistan’s employment depends on the cotton crop. Cotton is a source of income for unemployed women as well.
However, over the last decade or so, the area under cotton cultivation has declined and has been replaced by competing crops like sugarcane, maize, potato, and rice. During 2021-22, the crop area declined by 6.8% year-on-year to 1,937 thousand hectares.
“Last year, cotton got very short and we had to import more than 50% of the commodity. Consumption was 14 million bales, but production was 5.6 to 5.7 million,” Muhammad Abdullah, Executive Director of Sapphire Fibres Limited told CEN.
According to him, the sowing area was 20% less than the target. More importantly, unfavorable weather conditions such as rain or heat stress undermined the production per unit.
“The most important thing is a seed. Such seeds should be developed that have greater recovery capacity and are less vulnerable to pest attacks and weather misadventures,” he suggested.
The problems cotton farmers are facing are mainly due to the shift in weather, but conventional seeds are still being used.
“The month in which we require less temperature, the temperature increased, which caused problems. Scientists are doing research in collaboration with Chinese experts,” he told CEN.
The article originally appeared on The China Economic Net