ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi while addressing “Pakistan Cotton Consultative Conference” informed the participants that Plant breeders’ Right Act that has been pending since last 11 years will be passed soon.

He added that the work on Seed Amendment bill has been fast tracked. The conference was arranged by the Ministry of Textile Industry to develop policy guidelines for sustainable cotton growth. “If we continue to work like this, I assure you units shifted to Bangladesh would come back to Pakistan”, minister said.

The Federal Minister highlighted that despite facing challenges as unavailability of certified seed, irrigation issues, power crisis & high production cost Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton. The minister mentioned that unfortunately the current annual cotton production is only 30 lakh bales whereas the country has the capacity to produce 20 million bales annually.

He said that the government had signed MoU with Sinochem agro a Chinese company and hopefully cotton production would increase by 30 per cent in the country.

About the textile policy of the government, minister said that textile policy is due in early July. Minister further said that the government would increase textile exports by Rs 2 billion annually. Whereas about the gas supply to industry the minister proposed that industry should use coal instead of relying on gas. =The minister stated that the ministry has recruited agricultural scientists that would contribute towards research & cotton production. The minister added that the current budget incentives for textile sector have been formulated keeping small businessmen and value addition in mind.

Minister Bosan appreciated the textile ministry for its endeavors. He mentioned that it’s the need of the hour to bring down cotton production cost and efforts are underway to streamline cotton production according to international benchmarks.

At the end of the inaugural session the services of the eminent scientists, Dr Mehboob-ur-Rehman International Cotton Advisory Committee Researcher of the Year 2014, Ch Muhammad Afzal & Dr Tayyaeb Hussnain were acknowledged. Cotton production, research & extension services, cotton picking & standardization were discussed in detail in the conference.