ISLAMABAD : The country's cotton production can be increased by 62.5 per cent by developing seed industry, controlling weeds and pests and adopting improved crop management techniques, sources say.

The Punjab Cotton Control Ordinance 1966, amended up to 2002, further needs to be amended to provide mandatory marking of cotton grade, staple length on each cotton bale for the improvement of the standard and quality of cotton.

The rules may also be amended to restore the administrative control of Agriculture Department over the District Officers Agriculture and Deputy District Officers Agriculture, Agriculture Officer Extension and Cotton Inspectors instead of present set-up of administrative control of District Government/District Nazims.

The government keeping in view the international quality standards may introduce HVI testing and marking system on the cotton bales so as to be able to compete in international market. For this purpose a time frame may be allowed to the ginners to upgrade their ginning factories and adopt HVI classification.

The government may revise the Agricultural Pesticides Rules 1973 to give powers to the Inspector to seal the store of pesticides with the pesticide companies or dealers if the inspector has sufficient grounds to believe that the pesticide in question is of sub-standard or outdated. Such companies should be heavily fined and blacklisted and the chemical may be destroyed.

In this regard, cotton commissioner Dr Khalid told Online that seed legislation is pending from last ten years therefore industry is suffering a lot. He said that country's seeds requirement is about forty thousand metric tons while only ten percent seed is available on the time of cultivation.

He said that state of art and latest technology should be adopted to fulfil the requirements of the country. He said that Seed Act 1976 and Seed (Amended) Act 2005 be made more effective and the  rules may be amended and the extension staff of Agriculture Department may also be empowered under Seed Act to regulate effectively the sale of approved quality seed. He said that seventy percent pesticides are used on cotton therefore amendments are required in Pesticides Act to enhance the capacity of industry and to improve the situation.

Dr Khalid also pointed out that our seed industry has not sufficient manpower to handle demand of seeds therefore illegal and substandard seeds are sold in the market.