FAISALABAD    -    The agriculture experts have advised the growers to start cultivation of cotton crops after mid of April and complete it on priority basis. A spokesman of the agriculture department told APP here Saturday that although cotton is a cash crop and called as “White Gold”, yet its cultivation witnessed an extraordinary decline in district Faisalabad where more than 22,000 acres of land was decreased from cotton cultivation during last 5 years.

He told that five years ago the cotton was sown over 100,000 acres of land in Faisalabad but now this area has reduced to 78,000 acres in this district. Taking sensitivity of the situation in cognizance, the government has decided to convince the farmers to bring maximum land under cotton cultivation, he added. Responding to a question, he told that the government has fixed a target of 15 million bales of cotton this year and for this purpose, the cotton crops would be cultivated over 5.5 million acres of land in Punjab.

He said that the government has also decided to provide subsidy of Rs.1000 per bag of cotton seed so that the growers could cultivate it on maximum space. In this connection, field staff of agriculture department has also been activated to persuade the growers so that they could bring maximum land under cotton cultivation and increase its production. He further told that agriculture department has also devised a comprehensive strategy under which seminars, training workshops and sessions are being arranged at union council (UC) level whereas the field staff has also been assigned cotton cultivation targets and their performance would be monitored regularly.

The field staff has also been directed to compile data of cotton growers so that they could also avail from incentives and subsidies announced by the government for this sector, he added. Responding to another question, he told that cotton is a precious commodity of Pakistan which is not only playing a pivotal role in bringing foreign exchange for the country by increasing its exports but it is also creating jobs to millions of people in textile sector. He said that the cotton is a cash crop and it is helping in mitigating financial constraints of the growers. Therefore, the farmers should cultivate approved varieties including CIM-496, CIM-506, CIM-554, CIM-573, MNH-786, CRSM-38, PH-167, FH-942, NIAB-852, NIAB-777, NIAB-846, SLH-317, etc. on maximum area of land.