Nuclear scientists claim to
bring a cotton revolution
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jul 10 - 16, 2000
Pakistan, already a major cotton growing country, will be taking up its
cotton yield from average size of crop i.e. 8-10 million bales to 15 million bales within
next two years.
This was claimed by the renowned nuclear scientist Samar Mubarakmand
while addressing a meeting organized by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) in
Karachi last week. Dr.Samar was accompanied by a team of scientists including Dr. Javed
Aslam, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf and Dr.Mohammad Jamil.
With a sense of confidence, Samar said that there would be a cotton
revolution in the country with record production of 15 million bales. Pakistan Atomic
Energy Commission (PAEC) was presently developing 3 varieties of cotton seeds of high
yields, pest resistant and adjustable to varied degrees of environmental changes.
Dr.Samar accompanied by other scientists in the agriculture sector,
also assured to extend PAEC's assistant in producing textile machinery within Pakistan.
Currently Pakistan has to import its entire need of textile machinery from abroad due to
non-existence of textile machinery manufacturing base in Pakistan. Initially, he said that
we can help in producing spare parts and later on manufacturing capital machinery.
As far as cotton production is concerned, the estimated size of the
cotton crop is around 11 million bales this year. He said that only those varieties will
be commercially launched which are duly certified by the government.
After having satisfactory trials for these varieties by next year they
will be put up for certification and thereafter will go for multiplication of seeds.
While developing a cottonseed, Samar said that scientists and
researchers are faced with odds which also means if yield is increased to an extent, the
life span of seed declines and if strength is improved it affects staple length.
Consequently, he said a balance has to be struck so that a variety was
acceptable to both growers as well as to textile industry.
Presently Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam, Nuclear Institute
for Agriculture and Biology, Faisalabad and National Institute Bio-Genetic Engineering
Multan are working on different areas and development of seeds which include Niab 98,
Karishma and Niab999.
Niab 98 is at an advanced stage and some of its results appeared during
the current cotton season, while Niab 999 which is under trial and yet to be taken up for
seed development is expected best in coming times.
Mohsin Aziz, Chairman of APTMA, welcoming the scientists said that
Pakistan has achieved the unique distinction of becoming a nuclear power, it is also a sad
reality that even after 50 years of independence we could not break the vicious circle of
the poverty in our country. Pakistan, he felt, is nearly at the bottom of the league of
nations in terms of per capita income, education, health, justice and social development.
It is even more saddening that Pakistan has been left far behind by several countries
which were behind Pakistan about 30 years ago. In the 1960s the combined exports of South
Korea, Malyasia and Indonesia were less than the exports of Pakistan. But in 1999, while
Pakistan's exports were only $8.4 billion per annum, the exports of South Korea were $124
billion, Malaysia $78 billion and Indonesia $50 billion. This is due to our misconception
that achieving Pakistan only meant having a separate homeland for ourselves, whereas in
reality freedom and independence are not only political but also economic and social. In
the economic and social fields we have not only made disappointing progress but have
deteriorated in real terms against comparable nations.
"Now that we have been provided an impregnable defence and
protection from foreign military aggression we must concentrate all our energies on
achieving optimum economic and social development. After nuclear blast, the situation
demands that we must now make an economic and social blast" Mohsin observed.
Mohsin said that we must export missiles of infinite products having
international quality, after rapidly turning around the sagging economy of the country. We
must accelerate it towards achieving the status of a leading economic power in the world.
The textile industry of Pakistan as the largest economic sector of the
country has an equally large responsibility towards economic development of the country,
APTMA'S EXPECTATIONS BOX
In order to achieve the economic stability, Mohsin urged the team of
the national scientists to urgently help in resolving the following economic issues of
1. Cotton constitutes 78 per cent of the direct cost
in the textile industry is therefore the single most important factor in the variability
of the textile industry and its exports. However cotton sector requires accelerated
efforts for developing cotton varieties which are high yielding and pest resistant.
2. In spite of being the largest industry in the
country, the textile sector has to import all its requirements of textile machinery and
spares at a huge foreign exchange cost. Mohsin urged Dr. Samar to use his technical
facilities and know-how to indigenously produce world class textile machinery.