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Pakistan to revive cotton production

Pakistan aims to boost cotton production and increase its cultivation area by 45 per cent by 2025. Research funding will be provided and cotton research will be revitalized. Partnerships may be initiated for variety development and marketing. The Seed Act and the Plant Breeder Rights Act may be implemented. Sub-standard cotton seed and BT cotton varieties may be regulated. The cotton sector may be regulated by rationalizing over 700 seed companies and disallowing cotton imports during the cotton picking season.

Spinning and ginning may be improved through better technology, shifting of the current weight based pricing to a quality based system, and bale labeling by ginners showing quality features. The existing excessive incentives for sugarcane may be rationalized by replacing its current pricing mechanism with a new plan linking sugarcane price to the wholesale price of sugar in order to ensure a level playing field for all commodities.

Cotton production in Pakistan has faced virtual stagnation since 1991-92. Reasons include the use of inappropriate first generation, rather than fourth generation BT technology, absence of quality seeds and the low quality of ginning. There has been a 20 per cent decrease in cotton area between 2004 and 2016. However, cotton consumption has made Pakistan a net importer of cotton.