Punjab, the largest producer of cotton crop in
Pakistan, has decided to take strong preventive measures to produce
contamination-free cotton with an objective harvest a rich crop both in
terms of quality and value.
In order to ensure production of quality cotton free
from any sort of contamination, the provincial government of Punjab has
officially banned the use of jute bags for storage or transportation
purposes of the crop. The farmers have been asked to use cotton bags for
storing or transporting the cotton crop.
Any violation in this respect would not bring penalty
to the defaulter but may also lead to sentence. So far the growers used
to store the cotton yield in jute or polypropylene bags which are said
to be the major source for contaminating the cotton crop.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan which is one of the
major producer of cotton crop having its economy based on cotton and
textile could not build a reputation as a producer of quality cotton due
to gross neglect right from picking, ginning and spinning stages.
Consequently, the textile sector was restrained to go
into value addition besides low price in the world market. Pakistan gets
around 8 cent less than the standard price offered to the quality
producers of cotton in the world market.
The spinning sector had to import contaminated free
cotton to produce higher count yarn in Pakistan. This year too, the
spinners had to import at least 1.2 million bales for producing yarn of
Under an agreement the growers and the ginners were
also offered some incentives in the form of high price for producing
contamination free cotton. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association is
also contributing its share to encourage the growers. Last year when the
scheme for production of contamination free cotton was launched, certain
cotton producing areas was earmarked under scheme in Punjab, Balochistan
and Sindh. The scheme proved a great success and the growers of the
earmarked areas got a better price of their crop. In order to make the
entire province free from contamination the provincial government of
Punjab has taken strong measures including penalty and sentences to the
persons who would be found guilty of violation of the rules.
The instance set by the government of Punjab is a
good example for other cotton producing areas especially in the province
of Sindh, which is far from the desirable results so far. Although the
amount produced in Sindh is much less than the size of the crop produced
in Punjab, yet whatever they are producing can be described a sheer case
of negligence and ignorance. The provincial government should also lead
from the attractive results achieved by Punjab and should follow suit to
produce quality cotton which is the main pillar of our economy.
It is encouraging to see that as a result of
increasing access to the European market the textile sector in Pakistan
has almost doubled its efforts for value addition and has started
producing fine quality yarns to meet the market demand in the European
Market. Due to non-availability of the quality cotton, the textile
industry had to import over 1.2 million bales obviously sending the
precious foreign exchange which could have been saved if quality cotton
is made available within the country.
Provincial minister for agriculture, Khurshid Zaman
Qureshi, has declared that the use of jute bags for storing or
transporting cotton has been banned.
The minister made this announcement while addressing
a press conference after the weekly meeting of the cotton crop
management committee at the central cotton research institute.
He said the decision to this effect has been taken to
minimize contamination in Phutti (seed-cotton) which causes a loss of
about eight-cent per pound to the country on the international market.
Khurshid Zaman said so far the irrigation water
availability has been satisfactory, pest problem is under control and
the overall position of the crop was very good.
Despite less cotton cultivation this year, the output
is likely to be equivalent to that of the last year.
Provincial Secretary Agriculture Junaid Iqbal while
elaborating said the jute bags has been banned and cotton cloth may be
used instead of jute bags. He said if it happens to be costly
tractor-trolleys and trucks are used for transportation of Phutti.
Junaid Iqbal said this ban has been imposed to
produce contamination — free cotton and get better price of the
commodity on the world market. Use of Jute thread has also been
disallowed because it also contaminates the silver fibre. The provincial
secretary said so far the cotton leaf curl virus is negligible but in
order to further check its growth, except for six varieties, all other
kinds of cotton seed have been banned all across the country.
As for the pest attack in the next three to four
weeks, the onslaught may be severe and the growers are advised to be
vigilant against American bollworms, spotted bollworms and white fly.
Any negligence on the part of the farmers would be
suicidal. Appropriate chemical compounds must be sprayed every week to
safeguard the crop.
Breach of ban or use of jute bag for cotton and
cultivation of banned varieties will be dealt with an iron hand.