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Govt measures fail as Punjab growers still not too keen on cotton

Govt measures fail as Punjab growers still not too keen on cotton

LAHORE: Reports being received from the fields suggest that the measures so far taken by the Punjab government have failed to attract growers towards sowing cotton this year. The acreage and production of cotton in the province has been on the decline for the last many years.

An official of the provincial agriculture department said that reports of cotton sowing, which began on April 1, are not promising. The crop has been sown on 10-12 per cent less area compared with that of last year, he added.

Currently, the crop is mostly being sown in Bahawalpur, Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan districts, while Khanewal, Layyah, Sahiwal districts are lagging in this respect.

Talking to Dawn, Abdul Latif, a farmer from Khanewal, said that he has sown cotton only on 25 acres whereas until last year he had been allocating at least 100 acres of land to the crop.

Crop has been sown on 12pc less area over the last year

The Federal Committee on Agriculture has fixed white lint production target for the country at 10.5 million bales from an area of 2.33m hectares for the 2021-2022 season, almost double over the previous year.

Punjab is to sow the crop on 1.6m hectares of land to produce 6.07m bales. The agriculture department has issued a schedule for sowing of registered cotton varieties and advised the growers to complete sowing of registered Bt cotton varieties between April 1 and May 31.

The Bt cotton varieties recommended by the department include IUB-13, MNH-886, BS-15, Niab-878, and FH-142. Growers have been advised to consult local experts if they plan to sow other registered Bt cotton varieties keeping in view the environment of their district to get better production.

They have also been advised to cover 10pc of their lands with non-Bt varieties so that attacking pests do not develop resistance against Bt varieties.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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