ISLAMABAD                    -                The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) would meet by end of current month (March) in order to set the targets of Kharif crops and review the output of Rabi crops during the season. The high powered committee on agriculture would take stock of output of Rabi crops including wheat, pulses, oil seeds and situation of other minor crops of the season as well as it would fix the cultivation targets of Kharif crops like cotton, maize, sugarcane and rice, said an official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. While talking to APP here on Monday, he said that the committee would also fix production targets of other minor crops including pulses, chillies and vegetables to fulfill the domestic requirements as well as for exporting the commodities. The meeting would be presided over by Minister for National Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar while representatives of the food and agriculture departments of all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir would also attend the meeting and present their respective proposals and crop cultivation plan and areas for different crop production during the season, he added. Meanwhile, the representatives of other concerned departments including Indus River System Authority (IRSA), Pakistan Meteorological Department would apprise the meeting about the water availability for irrigation and weather forecast during the season, he said adding that the representatives of State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank, Zari Taraqiatie Bank and other banks would inform the meeting regarding the credit allocation for farmers during the season.

 This year, the FCA would pay special focus on cotton crop as the government was keen to enhance the output of all major crops including wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane, he said adding that it had allocated special funds to increase the production of these crops. In order to enhance the per-acre cotton output, government would provide Rs400 million subsidy to farmers on the import of PB Rope from the current sowing season. The amount is being allocated to enhance per-acre cotton output across the crop sowing areas of the country by minimizing the pest attacks particularly the Pink Boll worm. It may he recalled that the output of this major crop has been witnessing declining trend for last many years due to different reasons including use of conventional methods of cultivation, use of non certified