ISLAMABAD (APP) - Cotton production in the country hs increased due to good prices given to the growers and the same must continue for a viable textile industry in the country. This was sated by the Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal, while talking to a delegation of Hosiery Association of Faisalabad which called on him here. The minister stressed the need for safeguarding the interests of the farmer community as the economy and industry of the country was agro-based. Without safeguarding the farmers interest, prosperity could not be achieved, he added. He said the shortage of sugar in the country was the result of low payments made to the growers which affected the production of sugarcane. If the farmers get good prices for their crop locally, there would be no need of exporting the cotton or yarn, he said. Nazar Gondal said the domestic requirements of 15 million cotton bales would be met as the government has entered into an agreement with the leading American Seed Company, Monsanto. Proper mechanism would be adopted to give benefits to the farmers and protect them against any exploitation, he added. The visiting delegation, led by Dr. Khurrum asked the minister to devise a mechanism that results into a win-win situation for growers, spinners and value addition sector. They also suggested to passing on the benefits to the growers for increasing the cotton crop to fulfil the domestic requirements locally. The visiting delegation agreed to jointly work for devising a mechanism that takes into account the rights of the growers. They said that the regulatory duty imposed on yarn export must be passed on to the farmers adding that a farmers support fund be created for this purpose.