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Pakistan: Cotton shortfall blamed on inferior seeds

Farmers in Pakistan say the drop in cotton production is due to the supply of substandard seeds and some other factors. The country’s cotton production this year is about 10.4 million bales, while the estimated yield was about 14 million bales.

So it’s now anticipated that billions of dollars have to be spent to import cotton, while if agriculture-friendly policies had been followed and good quality cotton seeds had been supplied to farmers, the need for importing cotton would never have developed.

Pakistan’s future cotton policy envisages a number of strategies which include: germ-plasm improvements, development of hybrid cotton, improved farm and crop management, bringing additional area under cultivation, minimising post-harvest losses, increasing cotton production, improving yields per hectare, evolving disease resistant varieties, promoting Bt cotton cultivation and improving the overall quality of cotton.

The country’s cotton production in 2015-16 declined by 28 per cent due to reasons like climate change, competition with other crops, lower market prices and the outbreak of pink bollworm. In Pakistan, economic losses from contamination cost the cotton value chain, from raw cotton to garments, 1.4 billion dollars per year.

To meet the demand for extra-long staple cotton, about two million bales are imported annually. The country is also encouraging multinational and national technology providers to introduce the latest and most effective insect protection technology.