ISLAMABAD - Committee on cotton in its meeting chaired by former Minister Nazar Gondal has increased the cotton sowing area target by 8pc and aimed to sow cotton on 8.01 million acres in the country this year. In the meeting, Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV), production techniques, improving research and offering Special Pay Packages (SPS) were identified to be potential areas to be addressed. The president of Pakistan, after meeting members of APTMA had formed the committee on cotton to modernise local cottonseed on international standards so that the cotton production is enhanced to meet the domestic requirements. Mandate of this committee is to devise ways that result into increasing the per acre yield of cotton in the country. New areas in KP, Balochistan and Potohar region of the Punjab will be brought under cotton crop. PARC is tasked to import germ plasma of different varieties from abroad and develop it so that cotton production could be enhanced and fulfilled the demand of the cotton industry, said Nazar Gondal. The meeting discussed medium and long-term strategies to enhance cotton production. Crash Programme 2011-12 will be launched in coordination with the provincial govts and private sector to focus on ways that can help in boosting cotton production. Ensuring quality inputs especially seed, awareness on weed control, timely sowing and an extensive media campaign were identified to be the vehicles of a positive change in production for the nearest future. Secretary Agriculture Pujab and Sindh informed the meeting that both the provinces have trained the trainers to educate the farming community and the production plan and manuals are ready to be distributed. Creation of Pakistan Cotton Board as an autonomous body under Public-Private Partnership to develop a CLCV-resist variety is in the final stage of formulation. Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) was asked to import more germ plasma from abroad and must be handed over to researchers for further development.