The government has set 15.49 million bales cotton target for the next season (2015-16) against the revised target of 13.48 million bales for the outgoing season (2014-15), it is learnt. The government had set initial target of 15.1 million bales for the current season (2014-15), however later the target was revised three times to finally set at 13.48 million bales due to multiple issues including water shortage, rains/floods, and shortage of certified seed.

Official sources told Business Recorder that the 4th meeting of Federal Committee on Cotton (FCC) was held in the textile ministry with Amir Marwat, Secretary Ministry of Textile Industry in the chair to fix the targets for cotton area and production for the cotton crop season 2015-16.

The committee agreed to fix the following overall cotton production targets and area under cultivation for the year 2015-16: 15.49 million bales from 3.12 million hectares. Punjab would produce 10.5 million bales from 2.43 million hectares, Sindh 4.4 million bales from 0.65 million hectares, Balochistan 0.59 million bales from 0.043 million hectares and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa 0.00152 million bales from 0.0005 million hectares.

The Secretary Ministry of Textile Industry apprised the committee about the recent approval of Textile Policy (2014-19) which emphasises provision of higher quantity and quality of basic raw materials for producing high value products. He added that the new Textile Policy stresses achieving goals through sectoral development and cotton is the first step of the strategy. He also assured the farming community that all efforts would be made for provision of better prices to the cotton producers.

Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah presented the previous targets and achievements of cotton crop. He reviewed the previous cotton situation and stated that series of meetings were held with officials from federal, provincial and private sector seed agencies for provision of certified seed having higher germination percentage which led to availability of around 45 percent certified seed last year.

The representative from National Meteorological Department reported that the forthcoming cotton season would receive normal rainfall. However, low spell of rains are expected in April in the Punjab province which may result in soil crust problem and farmers must be educated for delaying of cotton sowing in consultation with Meteorological Department to avoid seed loss. He further stated that 10-15 percent more water will be available due to rapid melting of snow and glaciers due to rise in temperature. Moreover, the representative from Indus River System Authority (IRSA) also reported no shortage of canal irrigation water during the season.

The representative of fertiliser industry reported that there would be no shortage of urea fertiliser during the season. He also hoped that due to provision of LNG to power plants, fertiliser industry would get additional gas which would produce more fertiliser. The representative from Zarai Taraqqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) stated that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has set a target of Rs 500 billion for agriculture credit and out of this ZTBL would disburse Rs 90 billion loans for agriculture sector including Rs 15 billion for cotton sector.

Dr Muhammad Ali Talpur Director Marketing & Economic Research, PCCC stated that as per projections by International Cotton Advisory Committee, the world area and production may decrease due to lower prices last year and consumption may increase during coming cotton season. Therefore, the planning for intervention price may be done in time.

Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan Director General Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department assured that higher quantity of certified seed would be available during coming cotton crop season and seed companies selling fake seed would be de-registered.

The meeting was attended by Director General Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department, Member (Crop Sciences), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council; Director General Agriculture Punjab; representative of Crop Reporting Department, Sindh, Punjab Seed Council, Agricultural Research Institute, DI Khan, Director Research, Director Marketing & Economic Research from Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, Director Central Cotton Research Institute Sakrand, representative from fertiliser industry, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP); Meteorological Department and farmers.

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