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Minister for producing quality cotton seeds


ISLAMABAD:

There is a need to develop high-quality cotton seeds to boost output of the crop in the country, said Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Cotton Productivity Enhancement Programme on Tuesday, the minister said that cotton crop had suffered a lot in recent years due to climate change and use of substandard seeds.

“Production of the crop has declined from over 12 million bales about a decade ago to only around 7 million bales at present,” he said. “Cotton Leaf Curl Virus has a damaging effect on the crop.”

He was of the view that collaboration with the US in developing quality cotton seeds would help Pakistan boost production of the crop.

The minister expressed concern that cotton growers had suffered mammoth losses over the last three years due to its sensitivity. Last year in Sindh, about half of the cotton crop was destroyed due to untimely watering.

“Unlike four other main crops, cotton has become very sensitive,” he added. “But in the larger context of our economy, there is no substitute for cotton.” Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Azeem Khan revealed that Pakistan had been able to receive a large amount of germplasm by collaborating with the US.

“Development of numerous new seed varieties is under way with the help of this germplasm,” he said.

Furthermore, he said, many new seed varieties would be available in a few years, which would ultimately enhance cotton production in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2021.

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