MULTAN

Former speaker of National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imam has suggested to the government to restore agricultural price commission and announce support price for cotton before the sowing.

Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day Cotton Seminar and Kissan Mela organised by Nawaz Sharif Agricultural University here on Wednesday, he added that all the national institutions needed to work together to ensure achievement of 20 million cotton bales target in next three to four years.

He further asked the government to take initiative for preparation of high quality seeds besides issuing advisory to the farmers to guide them on the most appropriate kind of seeds in view of their areas.

Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Ali stressed the need for a linkage between the farmers and research institutions, saying his university would play this role to facilitate the local farmers and lift agriculture sector. He declared that cotton and mango were the two main topics of research for the varsity and the research would be conducted in view of needs of the market. He pointed out that substandard seed, fake pesticides, weather changes and intense attack of pests caused the 2015 cotton crisis.

Parliamentary secretary for Agriculture Punjab Rana Ijaz Ahmad Noon said that the government had constituted committees to promote agriculture sector, resolve problems faced by the farmers and market their produces while recommendations from the committees had also been sought. He added that 45 percent of Punjab’s total population was linked with agriculture sector while this sector constituted 63 percent of country’s total exports. He warned that no initiative would produce result if we fail to work as a team. He said that the scheme 63

Addressing the seminar, Director General Agriculture (research) Dr Abid Mahmood, Dr Noorul Islam, Dr Qamaruz Zaman and others said that Pakistan was the fourth largest producer of cotton, seventh wheat and third mango and gram. They further pointed out that the production capacity of varieties was upto 80 maunds per acre but our farmers could produce just 15 to 0 maunds due to their out-dated farming techniques.

They pointed out that India and China sowed new varieties of BT cotton developed in 2014 while Pakistani growers still sowed 1995 model as a result of which the yield went down. They added that the farmers in all other parts of the world sowed just one crop in the land in one season while Pakistani farmers sowed three crops in one season. They pointed out that the farmers could save 30 to 80 per cent water, fertiliser and pesticides if they adopted latest techniques and technology.

Member of Syndicate Mumtaz Khan Manais pointed out that Pakistani imports stood at $ 300 billion which should be cut down. Senior faculty members, progressive growers, MPAs and MNAs from the area also attended the session.